Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council (FRC), had been accused of helping to cover up sexual assault allegations against a Republican lawmaker.
Wes Goodman, the Republican state legislator for Ohio, has been accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man in a hotel in 2015 during a conference in Washington. The teenager had claimed that he awoke in the middle of the night to find the Goodman unzipping his pants. The teenager went on to tell his parents, who then complained about the incident to Perkins.
"Trust me... this will not be ignored nor swept aside. It will be dealt with swiftly, but with prudence," Perkins told the teenagers stepfather in an email.
Goodman, who is married and is known for pushing family values, issued a written statement claiming he had woken up in the morning to find the young man had gone.
The lawmaker had resigned last week after he was caught having sex with a man in his office.
The FRC president had reportedly advised Goodman, who was running for the legislature at the time, to step down from the race, but the politician continued and eventually won in November.
Two months after the alleged assault, Perkins officially suspended Goodman from the Council for National Policy (CNP).
Perkins, however, did not make the alleged assault public and never referred to the allegation in a later letter to Goodman.
"Going forward so soon, without some distance from your past behaviour and a track record of recovery, carries great risk for you and for those who are supporting you," Perkins wrote according to The Independent.
Emails and documents obtained by The Washington Post reportedly indicated that "a small circle of people discussed the complaints about Goodman before he went on to later misconduct at the statehouse."
Some conservative groups that supported Goodman had complained that they were kept in the dark about something that appeared to be an open secret among some conservatives.
"We are so sick of people knowing and doing nothing. If someone knew, they had an obligation to say something. That's what you do. That's how you hold society together," said Thomas R. Zawistowski, president of Ohio Citizens PAC, which endorsed Goodman.
There had also been speculation that Perkins' failure to make the alleged assault public made it possible for Goodman to potentially abuse further victims.
Rachel Bovard, the senior director of policy for The Conservative Partnership, defended the FRC president in an article published by The Hill, saying he handled the 2015 situation "with firmness and discretion" in contrast to many others who were "determined to look the other way."