Breaking News
More () »

Hampton Councilman Chris Bowman reads apology letter amid scandal with prostitute: 'I am a work in progress'

The letter, which Bowman read during Wednesday's city council meeting, comes as calls for Bowman to resign from the Hampton City Council continue to grow.

HAMPTON, Va. — Hampton Councilman Chris Bowman shared an apology letter amid harsh criticism stemming from a report about his meet-up with a prostitute in 2022 that had gone wrong.

The letter, which Bowman shared with news outlets and read during Wednesday's city council meeting, comes as calls for Bowman to resign from the Hampton City Council continue to grow. The Hampton NAACP and Councilman Steve Brown are among those calls. 

Councilmembers also voted unanimously to formally censure Bowman for his actions.

RELATED: Hampton city councilman calls on colleague to resign following scandal with prostitute, behavior complaints

In an e-mail to 13News Now, Bowman sent his apology ahead of the meeting. Here's what he wrote:

“I want to formally apologize to the citizens of Hampton, city staff, family members and my fellow members of City Council for my poor behavior approximately one and a half years ago. Let me tell you, it is not pleasant to go from being a well-respected person in the community to being censured by the City Council on which I am so privileged to serve.

I would never wish this on anyone, and I pledge to never put you or myself in this situation again. 

I have learned some valuable lessons as a result of this episode in my life, and I am receiving professional counseling. Like everyone else and even at my age, I am a work in progress and hardly perfect. But I need to be the best Chris Bowman I can be for people who depend on me, and that includes everyone in this room and those watching online or simply going about their lives in our great city. 

As many of you know, I have been an active member of the community long before I was elected to Council in 2020. I am a past executive board member and a life subscribing silver member of the NAACP, and I will continue to work with that organization on race relations and other important matters. I am a member of the Buckroe Improvement League, the Aberdeen Civic and Historic Association, the Hampton Clean City Commission and the Hampton Democratic Party. I will continue in those roles and will look for even more opportunities to serve. I will not hide or stop helping the city I love. 

I hope all of you will encourage me to become a better person and council member. I would appreciate it, and together I think we can build an even better Hampton.”

In a criminal complaint in court, detectives wrote that Bowman told them he had met with a woman at a hotel in Newport News and paid her for oral sex. He said that's when he came back to find valuables missing from his car in the parking lot, including his cellphone.

Days later, Bowman said he received calls from a man, saying he had his phone and demanded $5,000 in cash or else he would release the phone's contents to the public. Police wrote in the complaint that Bowman was concerned about the man releasing the information, so he met him at a location and gave him the $5,000.

The man, according to the court record, then ran off with the cash and Bowman's phone.

Since the report came out about Bowman's prostitution scandal, people in the community — including members of Hampton NAACP — have come forward, criticizing the councilman's behavior. 

Through the Freedom of Information Act, 13News Now also recently obtained a letter Mayor Donnie Tuck penned to Bowman in March 2023. It referenced concerns from multiple women about Bowman, ranging from complaints of inappropriate touching to standing too close and sending unwanted messages.

Brenda Marks said Bowman’s apology letter doesn’t ease her disappointment.

"Even in his apology letter, it’s still 'poor pitiful me'," she said. "How can you trust somebody to do the city's business that is either ignorant of the law or arrogant enough to believe it does not apply to him." 

During Wednesday’s meeting, half a dozen community members called for Bowman to resign.

"I urge you to remove your name badge and step down immediately," said Randy Bowman, who emphasized he and Chris Bowman are not related. 

Aaron Weaver approached the podium to express his displeasure in the councilman's actions.

"If you need help and are actively getting help, then resign and let a qualified replacement serve out the last amount of your term and then run again and have the public know all the information about you," he said. "This sets a dangerous and flawed precedent."

Hampton NAACP President Gaylene Kanoyton said they take issue with being brought into Bowman's apology letter.

"The NAACP will not be used, especially in a trumped up apology letter," she said. "Let me be clear. Yes, Councilman Bowman was on the executive board. However, after he received his votes and won, he resigned."

Another citizen spoke up, also calling for Bowman's resignation. He urged Bowman to take care of himself first.

"Chris, I say this as a friend, just do the right thing. I believe the right thing is for you to step down, get yourself in order, try again."

One person stepped forward in his defense.

"I give unequivocal support for Councilman Chris Bowman."

In response to the calls for his resignation, Bowman said everyone is entitled to their opinion.

"It hurts, it hurts, but they’re entitled to their opinion and you have to respect it," he said.

After the meeting, 13News Now asked Bowman if he has any plans to step down, he said this:

"Not at this time, no ma’am."

Marks said a group of people are working on putting together a recall petition.

"Recall is an option for the citizens of Hampton, so you know, if they feel like they want to pursue that, again, that's their right," Bowman said in response.

He said wants to work to regain the trust of the city.

"I made a serious mistake. You know I’m not perfect. We all make mistakes," he said. "There's a lot of committees, a lot of boards that I can attend and reach out to them and engage them and re-engage them and try to rebuild that trust."

Bowman also said he is working on himself through counseling.

Hampton's City Attorney emphasized neither city council nor city staff have any ability to remove an elected councilmember.

Though, at a city council meeting on August 9, Vice Mayor Jimmy Gray called for the city council to censure Bowman as a sign of disapproval

Councilman Steve Brown has openly called for Bowman's resignation saying "when trust is broken, it is broken – no matter what role or title you have."



Before You Leave, Check This Out