A Republican politician is under investigation for allegedly sending sexually explicit texts to a 17-year-old boy.
At the time, Mike Yenni, 40, was mayor of Kenner, Louisiana, and was running for president of Jefferson Parish, a position he now holds.
WWL-TV reports that the FBI has interviewed at least four people about messages between Yenni and the teen, and has obtained the young man’s phone.
Yenni is currently married to Michelle Swanner Yenni and the couple has a 3-year-old daughter.
The alleged victim, who has not been named, says he and Yenni began texting and talking on the phone last year. A mutual friend, who was 19 at the time, helped Yenni connect with the young man, and the mayor soon came to see him at the mall where he worked.
They met in a bathroom, he claimed, where Yenni gave him some designer underwear and they briefly kissed.
The young man showed WWL-TV copies of texts between the two, asking that they not be directly quoted in any articles.
In one, though, Yenni apparently asked to see the victim naked.
He also told him he wanted to see the 17-year-old model the underwear he bought him, and also that he wanted to perform a sex act on him.
The youth, who is openly gay and is now in college, said he started to feel uncomfortable about the situation and ended communication a few weeks after the sexting began.
He also blocked Yenni’s number.
While the youth was initially flattered and intrigued by Yenni’s overtures, he said the texts and phone conversations began to make him uncomfortable, such as one proposing three-way sex with him and the 19-year-old mutual friend.
“He asked me to go with him to his house in Oxford [Mississippi],” the youth said. Records show Yenni owns an apartment there.
“Also, the way he would describe the sexual things he wanted to do to me. And he asked me to be a secretary or assistant in his office; that way I could be with him and not be questioned.”
The age of consent in Louisiana is 17, meaning that even if Yenni and the young man had sex—which the youth claims they did not—no crime was committed.
But Yenni could run afoul of federal telecommunications law, which prohibits “the transmission of any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene… knowing that the recipient of the communication is under 18 years of age.”
Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse, who lost to Yenni in the parish president race last October, says he saw some of the texts last year but “we had no proof, so we kind of left it alone.”
Yenni issued a statement saying he hasn’t been contacted by the FBI or any law enforcement agency and doesn’t think he will be.
“He doesn’t believe that he will be because there’s nothing he’s done professionally or personally that will warrant the FBI to contact him,” said a representative. “And that’s his belief at this point.”