In a remarkable minute-long video segment set to air on local news stations at 10 p.m. Thursday, Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni breaks his weeklong silence and admits that he "chose to send improper texts to a young man," but strongly implies he will not resign from office, as some residents demanded a day earlier.

Yenni's commercial does not specifically address some of the other allegations in the story broken by WWL-TV on Sept. 29: that he kissed the teen in question, bought him designer underwear, suggested having group sex with him and even offered to help get him a job in his administration.

But it will show the parish president vowing to work hard to win back the public's confidence, according to a recording being distributed in advance in political circles and obtained by The New Orleans Advocate.

 

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"Last summer I was old enough to know better, but I guess I was still young enough to do something stupid," Yenni, 40, says in the video. "I chose to send improper texts to a young man. I won't go into details out of respect for the rights and privacy of all parties. I made a bad decision. I regret my actions."

Yenni, who is married and has a young daughter, continues, "I apologize to the families involved and anyone who I embarrassed, especially my own family and the people of Jefferson. Now, I will work everyday to prove that good people can rise from a bad decision. I want to reassure the citizens of Jefferson that I never abused or misused my powers as a public official. And I'm certainly not afraid of the future because I'm smart enough to never repeat the past."

WWL-TV, citing sources, reported last week that the FBI has interviewed at least four people about texts Yenni sent to the young man, then 17, whom he met at an event at Jesuit High School. One of the texts included a proposal for group sex involving the two of them and a third person.

WWL spoke to the youth, who is now 19 and a sophomore in college, but did not identify him by name in the report.

The teenager told the station he met Yenni in 2015. The youth said Yenni later met him at a mall food court where the teen worked, gave him some designer underwear and briefly kissed him in the restroom.

Yenni has been silent on the matter and skipped Wednesday's Parish Council meeting, despite calls from several council members for him to address the allegations and take questions from constituents directly.

Instead, he recorded the minute-long commercial that was distributed to local news stations to air on their 10 p.m. newscasts.

He then notified the Parish Council that he had deployed with the U.S. Navy Reserve for operations related to Hurricane Matthew. The Navy Reserve said Yenni, a lieutenant, was in Norfolk, Virginia, and would assist with public affairs duties.

Rumors have swirled about whether Yenni would resign; Thursday's statement appears to make clear that he has no intention of doing so.

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate. Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder. 

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