Indiana state Rep. Phillip Hinkle (R) is embroiled in controversy after The Indianapolis Star discovered emails appearing to solicit the paid company of a young man, sent from Hinkle's publicly listed email address.
In response to a M4M forum Craigslist post, Hinkle emailed the man, named Kameryn Gibson, and offered him $80 cash, with a tip of $50 or $60 "for a really good time" in the hours he proposed spending together at a local Marriott.
Gibson, whose ad lists him as 20 years old but is actually 18, said he met Hinkle at the hotel, and tried to leave when Hinkle said he was a state politician.
The Star writes:
He said the lawmaker at first told him he could not leave, grabbed him in the rear, exposed himself to the young man and then later gave him an iPad, BlackBerry cellphone and $100 cash to keep quiet.
The BlackBerry contained all of the emails between the young man and Hinkle. In one, Hinkle gives a physical description: "I am an in shape married professional, 5'8", fit 170 lbs, and love getting and staying naked."
No police report has been filed, but a spokesman for Hinkle said that "a shakedown" had taken place, and did not deny that the emails had been sent by Hinkle.
Peter Nugent, Hinkle's lawyer, asked "that everyone respect the privacy of the family at this time" while the matter is being investigated.
According to Project Vote Smart, Hinkle is against same-sex marriage, and carries the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. Hinkle, 64, has been in state legislature since 2000 and co-authored a bill to create a license plate inscribed with "In God We Trust."
“Indiana has no openly gay state legislators and provides no legal rights for LGBT people. Hinkle [and others] recently voted to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions," political blogger Bil Browning pointed out.
The emails between Gibson and Hinkle contain no direct mention of sex acts, and Gibson said that they didn't have sex. In Indiana, prostitution is defined as an agreement between people to have sex for money.
Megan Gibson, Kameryn's sister, came to pick him up from the hotel after Hinkle thrust the bribes upon Gibson. She said that she spoke to Hinkle's wife on the BlackBerry, and told her her husband was gay. Hinkle's wife offered her $10,000 to keep quiet.
Later, Hinkle himself called the phone, and Megan Gibson told him that she'd spoken to his wife and said he was gay.
"You've ruined me," the lawmaker said.