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GOP Rep. Lee resigns amid Craigslist scandal

Republican Rep. Christopher Lee of New York resigned Wednesday, merely hours after a gossip site reported that the married congressman sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he contacted through website Craigslist.com.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gawker.com posted the photo and emails exchanged between Lee, 46, and an unnamed woman who placed an ad on the site’s “Women for Men” personals section.

In the emails to the 34-year-old Maryland woman, Lee - who is married with one son - identified himself as a divorced lobbyist and a “fit fun classy guy,” the site reported. He also said he was 39 years old.

Just hours after the story broke, Lee announced his resignation, effective immediately. A clerk read his letter of resignation on the House floor.

"I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents," Lee said in a statement. "I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness."

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner told NBC News that it was Lee's decision to resign.

His exit triggers a special election, which Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo must call. Lee was first elected in 2008 with 55 percent of the vote, and GOP presidential candidate John McCain won the district - New York's 26th - in 2008 with 52 percent.

NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Shawna Thomas contributed.