(October 14, 2020 / JNS) The Jewish mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, has resigned after admitting to a sexting affair with a local anchorwoman that included an anti-Semitic element.
After leading Alaska’s largest city since 2015, Ethan Berkowitz submitted his resignation on Tuesday night—four days after news anchor Maria Athens posted a video on Facebook in which she baselessly accused him of pedophilia.
“It is with profound sadness and humility that I resign as mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage,” he said in a statement, which was read at the Anchorage Assembly meeting by his chief of staff, Jason Bockenstedt, and later emailed to the press.
“My resignation results from unacceptable personal conduct that has compromised my ability to perform my duties with the focus and trust that is required,” wrote Berkowitz, 58, the third Jewish person to be the mayor of the city where an estimated 2,000 Jews reside.
Athens, who worked for a group of local TV stations, posted two photos to Facebook that she claimed were of Berkowitz’s naked backside. In a Friday voicemail to Berkowitz that included anti-Semitic language, Athens threatened to kill both him and his wife.
Berkowitz’s office immediately denied the unsupported allegation. The following day, Anchorage police said it and the FBI found no evidence of criminal conduct, though “the FBI Anchorage Field Office continues to monitor the situation,” according to an FBI statement on Tuesday.
The resignation will be effective as of Oct. 23.
Felix Rivera, chairman of the Anchorage Assembly, will serve as acting mayor until a special election is held.
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