Missouri prosecutor who handled sex crimes resigns after sexting a paralegal

A top St. Louis County prosecutor has resigned after his intimate messages to a private paralegal emerged in a federal bribery investigation.

Forty-eight-year-old John Quarenghi left in December after learning that federal investigators were reviewing his electronic communications with the paralegal. Twenty-six-year-old Jillian Nichols was indicted in federal court last week for allegedly promising a sexual assault defendant favorable treatment from an unnamed prosecutor in exchange for $10,000.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the former prosecutor's lawyer said his client is not a target of the bribery probe and stepped down to avoid embarrassing the office. Quarenghi's duties included handling sex crimes.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan declined to identify the prosecutor but said that person "was completely innocent with regard to the bribery issue."