Stranger sex session unionist MLA Hussey thanks friends for support
A UUP MLA who sent naked pictures to an undercover reporter has publicly thanked those who rallied around him since the story broke.
Policing Board member Ross Hussey (57) has apologised after he was featured on the front page of the Sunday Life arranging to meet the reporter for "stranger sex".
The West Tyrone politician yesterday met his party leader Mike Nesbitt, who is standing by the MLA.
The report in the Sunday Life said that Mr Hussey had been taking security risks by meeting total strangers for sex sessions.
He met with the undercover reporter and spoke of enjoying meetings with random individuals, the paper reported. He made contact with these individuals through a website where many members use fake identities.
An official statement from the Ulster Unionist Party said: "Ross Hussey has not broken any law. He is a single man and entitled to a private life."
"The party leader and others have spoken to him and he has accepted fully he acted foolishly. He does not deny any of the facts that have been put in the public domain and he again has apologised for the embarrassment this has caused the party and his family.
"He will be making no further comments on the issue other than to thank all those who have sent him messages of support."
Mr Hussey has said he was "struck dumb" when contacted for a response to the article, adding: "I thought my world was crashing around me."
"I accept fully that I have used websites and the internet to meet others and as I am a single man I did not think of the consequences," he said.
The MLA continued: "I made a terrible error of judgment in sending photos and sincerely regret that my actions have brought me to public attention for all the wrong reasons. I apologise unreservedly to my family, colleagues and friends for any embarrassment I have caused."
Mr Hussey later tweeted: "Can I thank all of you for your messages of support I really appreciate it - I am really surprised at the sincere messages I have received."
The politician is chairman of the Policing Board's audit and risk committee and like all board members he is subject to a strict code of conduct.
All board members are advised to be aware of their personal security at all times because of the risk from dissident republicans.
Party colleagues and MLAs from other parties at Stormont have offered their support to Mr Hussey.
Ulster Unionist MLA for South Antrim Steve Aiken said: "Ross Hussey you have my complete support."
Posting on Mr Hussey's Facebook page, friend Alan Barr said: "Ross is a hard worker and a gentleman. He has served his community in times of trouble and in more peaceful times."
Another supporter, Colin Flinn, added: "My thoughts are with you. Keep your head held high and keep on representing people the way you've always done, with great commitment, honesty and fairness."