20-year-old who admitted to revenge porn elected to Kansas legislature, says he’s learned from mistakes

Mid-South

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) — A newly-elected state representative in Kansas is headed to the statehouse despite admitting that he engaged in revenge porn as a teenager several years ago.

Aaron Coleman, who was elected Tuesday as a state representative for the state’s 37th District, said he didn’t expect to win on Election Day. 

Coleman, now 20, caught the attention of voters in Wyandotte County this spring when, at age 19, he announced his intention to run for public office.

Shortly after Coleman won the Democratic primary election, reports surfaced that he had engaged in revenge porn, publicly sharing racy photos of a classmate while the two were in middle school. That was six years ago, according to Coleman, who said he regrets not deleting that photograph.

As of Wednesday evening, Coleman had received 63% of the vote, as opposed to votes received by a number of write-in candidates.

Coleman said he realizes the revenge porn situation was wrong. Revenge porn became a felony offense in Kansas in 2016.

“I wish somebody would have told me when I was 12 years old that if a girl sends you a photo, you should just delete it. You shouldn’t send it to your friends. You should delete that photo,” Coleman said Wednesday. “I never received those lessons.”

Coleman said he’s concerned that students aren’t being warned about revenge porn in schools. Coleman, who calls himself a “New Deal Democrat,” will begin his first term in Topeka in January. His supporters, including Susan Stevens, commend Coleman for admitting his mistakes and growing from them.

“He really had this openness, this willingness to hear the criticism, and a willingness to share this is why he’s still running,” Stevens said. “I see that as tremendous character.”

Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report.

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