Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is facing a scandal after a law enforcement officer exposed evidence of the governor’s affair with one of his top advisors.
The police officer was fired on the same day he made the allegations, and the alleged connection between the two incidents has increased the media’s interest in the governor’s affair.
After 50 years of marriage, Mrs. Bentley filed for divorce from her husband on August 28, 2015. She gave no reason other than to say that the marriage had “suffered an irretrievable breakdown.” The divorce came as a great shock to the people of Alabama.
Shortly after his wife filed for divorce, allegations began to surface suggesting that Bentley was having an affair with his administration’s Communications Director Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Mason served as Bentley’s campaign press secretary before he was elected and is also known for being a former Miss Alabama contender.
Bentley initially denied any allegations that he and Mason had a relationship beyond their professional affiliation. He said, “I have never had a physical affair with Mrs. Mason. I have never done anything illegal.” He did later admit, however, to making “inappropriate comments” to Mason two years ago.
Officer Collier says that in 2014 he investigated text messages and audio recordings “of a sexual nature” between Bentley and Mason. When he confronted the governor about his findings, Bentley confirmed the affair and promised that it would end.
“Less than a month ago,” Collier reported at a recent press conference, “the governor told me he was still madly in love with Rebekah Mason.”
When it comes to divorce across the U.S. as a whole, 20 to 25% of mediation groups say that an affair was the reason for the divorce. In Alabama, adultery is illegal, and as a part of America’s conservative religious “Bible Belt” region, residents of the state take this issue very seriously. State Representative Allen Farley spoke for himself and the people of Alabama when he said that Bentley’s affair and dishonesty would make him unfit for office.
“As a man of faith, this to me is very serious… We’re always failing — we’re human — but this is the Bible Belt,” Farley commented. “A lot of the popularity that got Dr. Robert Bentley elected was talking about his faith and being a Sunday school teacher and a deacon of the church. Those things resonated with the Republicans in Alabama, so you can see how this resonates with the same people.”