News

Anti-Gay Ind. Legislator Caught With Boy Toy: ’I’m Not Resigning’

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Aug 24, 2011

The Republican leadership of Indiana's state lawmakers has called for one of their own, an anti-gay lawmaker, to step down after becoming embroiled in a sex scandal involving a rendezvous at a hotel with an 18-year-old boy, reports of an offer of payment for "a really good time," and allegations that the lawmaker both tried to keep the boy from leaving and then offered him bribes to keep quiet.

But the lawmaker in question -- 64-year-old State Rep. Phillip Hinkle -- says he's not leaving office until the end of his term. Hinkle also says that he will not seek re-election, but that decision, he says, was made well before the scandal broke.

Hinkle reportedly answered an ad placed on Craigslist by 18-year-old Kameryn Gibson, whose posting sought "a sugga daddy," according to an Aug. 12 article in local newspaper the Indianapolis Star. In the ad, the 18-year-old claimed to be 20.

Hinkle, who is married, has been a state lawmaker for 11 years. He is now in his 6th term of office. During his tenure, he has supported an amendment to the state's constitution to deny marriage rights to all but heterosexual couples.

The Star relates that an email exchange between the young man and Hinkle's email address set up a time for the two to meet at a local hotel on Aug. 6, with the messages from the State Rep's account offering cash for "a couple of hours of your time tonight." The sum mentioned was $80, with the promise of a further $50 or so as a gratuity "for a really good time."

Politico reported in an Aug, 12 article that Gibson had placed his ad in the men's personals on Craigslist, including a shirtless photo of himself, a little after 7:30 on the morning of Aug. 6. Within an hour, he received a response.

"Cannot be a long time sugar daddy, but can for tonight," the message read. "Would you be interested in keeping me company for a while tonight?" The response went on to advertise the sender's personal characteristics, saying, "I am an in shape married professional, 5'8", fit 170 lbs, and love getting and staying naked."

A series of email exchanges followed, with monetary terms being discussed, but no sexual acts referenced. Some of the messages from the respondent to Gibson's ad said they had been "Sent from Phil's iPad," while others seemed to originate from Hinkle's Comcast email account.

That afternoon, Gibson received a message offering to meet him at his home and then drive him to a local hotel. Another message also asked about the possibility of an overnight encounter.

"If u want to consider spending night u might tell ur sis so she won't worry. Would have u back before 11 tomorrow," the email said. "No extra cash just free breakfast and maybe late night snack."

Finally, at quarter to nine that evening, a message arrived reading, "I am here in parking lot between bldg 1 and 2. U here?"

The two drove to the hotel, where Hinkle allegedly told Gibson to go in first. A quarter of an hour later, Hinkle allegedly entered the room, then took off his clothing and wrapped a towel around himself. Then, according to Gibson, Hinkle revealed that he was a state lawmaker. The young man wanted to leave at that point, he told the press, but Hinkle responded, "I'm not taking you back until we do what we need to do."

The young man then retreated to the bathroom and used his cell phone to call his sister, Megan, who agreed to come to the hotel to get him. Gibson said that Hinkle then agreed to let him leave, but that the older man also groped him and offered him hush money. When Gibson's sister arrived, Hinkle gave the siblings an iPad, cash, and a Blackberry.

According to the siblings, on the ride home Megan answered a call on the Blackberry from Hinkle's wife. A series of calls with the wife and other members of Hinkle's family ensued, along with an in-person meeting with a family member, and allegedly culminating in an offer of $10,000 for the siblings' silence. Hinkle also called the Blackberry and told Megan, "You just ruined me."

Hinkle did not directly deny the young man's story when contacted by the newspaper, the article said, but he told the Star that there was "a shakedown taking place."

Gibson denied that he and his sister were attempting to "shake down" the lawmaker, and said that Megan had gone to the press because she thought Hinkle's conduct had been "creepy."

The state's Republican officials had little to say at first other than that the incident was a tragedy for Hinkle and his family. But then Brian Bosma, the speaker of the state's house, called for Hinkle's resignation on Aug. 23.

Hinkle promptly said no to that idea, local newspaper the Courier Press reported that same day.

"As we begin preparations for the 2012 legislative session and the significant challenges ahead, Rep. Hinkle should focus on his family and personal life," Bosma said in a statement. "His continued service in the Indiana House is a distraction from that priority and a detriment to the continuing work of the legislature."

The statement also made reference to "compassion" for the embattled lawmaker. If the Republican leadership had any thoughts of compassion for the male teen who Hinkle reportedly hired, detained, and bribed, that was not noted in the news report. But the article did report on Hinkle's reply.

"I can tell you that he has no intention of resigning," an attorney for Hinkle said.

Hinkle also released a statement via his attorney in which he refuted elements of Gibson's account.

"He said he did not expose himself to the escort, did not offer him money in exchange for silence and did not attempt to detain him," the article summarized.

But the statement from Hinkle did suggest that the lawmaker owned up to at least some of what Gibson and his sister took place, saying that the lawmaker would be getting help to address "what turned me down a road of self-destruction."

Gibson, in turn, told the press that Hinkle's denials were "untrue," the article said.

Hinkle's statement said that although the lawmaker was resisting pressure to resign, he had decided after the last election not to run for a seventh term.

Bosma pulled Hinkle from his chairmanship on two committees, and bumped him from a third committee, the article said.

Politicians elsewhere have recently resigned for infractions far less severe than what Hinkle purportedly did. In June, New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, stepped down after admitting to having sent lewd images of himself to a number of women.

Republican New York Rep. Christopher Lee similarly stepped down when a sexting scandal broke earlier this year.

Hinkle is not the first anti-gay politician to run aground on allegations of sexual hijinks with others of the same gender. Anti-gay California State Sen. Roy Ashburn stepped down soon after being pulled over for drunk driving shortly after leaving a gay bar in the company of an unidentified male companion. Ashburn subsequently came out of the closet.

Hinkle's vague references to a "path of self-destruction" also recalled the admission of "repulsive and dark" impulses by anti-gay evangelical preacher Ted Haggard, who, in 2006, left his position as the head of the megachurch he had founded after news broke that he had been seeing a male escort.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


Comments

  • , 2011-08-24 22:09:46

    Of course he’s not resigning, he’s a republican. They have zero ethics. This guy is pathetic and I feel sorry for his stupid wife who stays married to him.


  • jimbodapimp, 2011-08-25 16:24:22

    Butt sex!


  • , 2011-08-25 22:41:08

    Wait a min! Weiner gets run out of office and town, was on the news day in and out. But this guy can just say no I am not leaving and that’s that????


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