Sex scandal unionist Hussey admits that he was a fool for his cavalier acts
Ross Hussey is one of thousands of people across Northern Ireland who use specialist websites to meet strangers for casual sex.
Surprisingly, the well known politician’s face was visible on his profile page as was a description of his sexual fantasies and fetishes.
The Policing Board audit and risk committee chairman’s only attempt at disguise was to call himself ‘Russ’ rather than Ross.
On his profile he gives two rules for potential lovers.
The first is that they must be clean.
His second rule is: “Be very discreet. I insist on discretion by both us.”
Clearly, the MLA did not want his liaisons with strangers becoming public knowledge but by his own admission he was behaving recklessly and foolishly. And the website included endorsements from strangers he had already met for sex.
When Sunday Life began investigating this story we acknowledged that Mr Hussey, although a public figure and elected representative, had a right to a private life.
He was not doing anything illegal in doing what many other people do in joining a website to meet people for casual sex.
However, we were also conscious that Mr Hussey held high profile roles, which were bound by strict codes of conduct and was a potential target for terrorists and criminals as a member of the Policing Board - a board that was responsible for holding senior police officers to account.
We were shocked when Mr Hussey sent unprompted nude photos of himself to our reporter when he had no way of knowing the identity or even the age of the person he was sending the images to.
He also sent a series of explicit messages.
We were shocked too that he was willing to meet up with our reporter at a Belfast hotel for sex without having any verification of his ‘date’s’ identity.
Mr Hussey chatted with our reporter for 15 minutes during the encounter, describing his sexual fantasies and how they conflicted with being a member of the Orange Order which promotes Christian family values.
At no point did he admit to being an Ulster Unionist MLA or member of the Policing Board, claiming he worked in insurance and as a part-time fire inspector.
Mr Hussey’s profile on the sex site indicates that within days of meeting our reporter at the Ramada Plaza hotel he had two more meetings with people he met through the site. One described him as a “great guy” and a second said “they had a great time”.
Clearly, Mr Hussey was taking security risks on a regular basis and leaving himself wide open for potential threats by blackmailers or terrorists.
When Sunday Life yesterday confronted Mr Hussey about his behaviour he admitted immediately that he deserved public criticism for his cavalier behaviour.
He did not deny that Sunday Life had a legitimate interest in publishing the story about his foolhardy actions.
It was Sunday Life’s view that the public had a right to be informed about the conduct of a public representative which not only raises issues of security but appears to conflict with strict codes of conduct which Mr Hussey is bound by.
Notably, Mr Hussey chairs the committee that is specifically is responsible for matters such as risk and governance of the Policing Board.
The press has an obligation to keep the public informed in respect of matters that fall properly in the public interest and Mr Hussey’s irresponsible behaviour was clearly of public interest.
In the days after his hotel meeting with an undercover reporter, Mr Hussey sent further messages through the internet site to the reporter.
He was in touch again on Tuesday of last week with a friendly comment suggesting they kept in touch. He still had no idea of the identity of the person he had met or sent nude photos to.
Two days earlier he had taken to Twitter to banter fellow Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson who attended an event involving country music star Nathan Carter.
The Assemblywoman was pictured next to a pillow bearing the singing sensation’s face with the caption reading: “We’re waking up with Nathan Carter.”
Mr Hussey joked in a tweet: “If the press found out Joanne that you woke up with Nathan the leader won’t be happy! Lol.”