A married lawmaker from Indiana with an antigay voting record has found himself caught up in a scandal involving a young man he allegedly met through Craigslist.
The Indianapolis Star is reporting that state representative Phillip Hinkle, 64, who represents portions of Pike and Wayne townships, answered an ad on Craigslist placed by a young man looking for a “sugga daddy,” and offered the young man $80 plus tip to spend time with him at a local hotel.
The young man, identified as Kameryn Gibson, 18, says he ended up with more than $80.
According to the story, emails sent from Hinkle's personal address — which were shared with the Star — requested "a couple hours of your time tonight" from Kameryn and offered an added gratuity up to $60 "for a really good time."
The emails were sent to an address belonging to Kameryn’s sister, Megan Gibson, which she kept on her smartphone and later shared with the Star, along with a call log revealing phone calls from numbers matching both Hinkle’s home and mobile phone.
An electronic conversation ensued. No sex acts were mentioned, but a message sent from “Phil's iPad” summed up the plan’s financial details: "Final for the record, for a really good time, you could get another 50, 60 bucks. That sound good?"
Speaking to the Star, Kameryn said Hinkle picked him up that evening and drove him to the JW Marriott hotel. Kameryn entered the room first, followed about 15 minutes later by Hinkle, who changed into a towel and then revealed he was a lawmaker.
Kameryn said he was uncomfortable being in a bedroom with a politician, but when he told Hinkle he had changed his mind about the encounter, Hinkle replied, "You need to do this, because I came and got you, and I'm not taking you back until we do what we need to do."
Excusing himself, Kameryn went into the bathroom and called Megan, who offered to pick him up.
The Gibson siblings say that when Megan arrived Hinkle offered them his iPad, a BlackBerry, and $100 in cash. On the drive home, the BlackBerry began ringing. One caller identified herself as Hinkle's wife.
Megan said she told the woman "Your husband is gay" and bolstered her claim by reading her the email address Hinkle had used to correspond with Kameryn.
"Please don't call the police" is what Megan said the woman replied after a brief silence.
Megan said that after dropping Kameryn off, she received another call from the woman offering $10,000 in exchange for their silence.
Yet another call originated from the hotel. Megan said Hinkle was on the other end, and after telling the politician that she’d informed his wife that he was gay, Hinkle's response was "You just ruined me."
Contacted by the Star, Hinkle said, "I am aware of a shakedown taking place."
On Wednesday, Hinkle’s attorney Peter Nugent issued a statement saying, "Representative Hinkle is aware of the inquiries by The Indianapolis Star and we are investigating the matter at this time. We request that everyone respect the privacy of the family at this time."
Both Kameryn and his sister deny being involved in a shakedown. "I wasn't shaking him down at all," Kameryn said.
Hinkle, a Republican, voted earlier this year for an anti–marriage equality amendment to Indiana's constitution. It would have to go through further legislative and voter approvals before becoming law.
Read the full story here.