Prosecutor resigns after sexting relationship exposed in federal investigation

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A key lawyer in the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney's office resigns after his "sexting" relationship with a paralegal comes to light in a federal investigation.

That paralegal, who worked for a separate office, is now charged with federal crimes.   The full story is laid out in Tuesday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch.   Investigators say the prosecutor from Bob McCulloch's office is not charged with any crime, but he left to save the office and himself any embarrassment.

The former prosecutor is John Quarenghi, 48.  According to the Post, he was a team leader and prosecuted a number of major cases, including sex crimes.

The paper goes on to say that Quarenghi resigned December 23 after his bosses told him the feds were investigating paralegal Jillian Nichols, 26.

Nichols worked for another lawyer who was defending a man charged with sexual assault through McCulloch's office.  Nichols has since been charged with falsely promising that defendant that she could get him favorable treatment from an unnamed prosecutor for $10,000.

During the fed's investigation of Nichols, the sexting relationship between her and Quarenghi was uncovered.  Quarenghi's attorney told the Post-Dispatch that the sexting included an exchange of photographs.

Nichols has left the law firm where she was working and is charged with fraud and making false statements.