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Mormon senator apologizes for DUI, asks forgiveness

| Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 6:40 p.m.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of driving while intoxicated and then apologized for his actions and asked forgiveness from his constituents.

The Idaho Republican said nothing during a brief appearance in Alexandria General District Court, where he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and was ordered to pay a $250 fine and complete an alcohol safety program.

He agreed to a 12-month suspension of his driver's license. The sentence is typical for first-time drunken-driving offenders in Virginia.

Outside of court and in a subsequent conference call with reporters in his home state, Crapo apologized and said he'd been drinking alcohol a few nights a week, in violation of the tenets of his Mormon faith.

Crapo said he tried alcohol for the first time about a year ago. It was a misguided attempt to relieve stress, he said, and he always kept his use of alcohol hidden. The night of his arrest was the first time he had driven drunk, Crapo said.

“I was already thinking in my own mind that this had to end,” Crapo said. “I believe in my heart that I had already recognized that I was on a bad path, and I needed to find a different path to follow.”

Crapo said he drank “several, probably two to three” vodka tonics at his Washington home on the night of Dec. 22 when he became restless, couldn't sleep and went out for a drive.

His arrest stunned colleagues and constituents alike, not only because of his squeaky-clean image but also because he had said he doesn't drink, in accordance with his church's practices.

Crapo said he regretted bringing shame to himself and his faith and he would take the appropriate measures for forgiveness and repentance in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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