INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mitch Daniels said Friday it's up to a married Republican state lawmaker and his constituents to decide whether he should step down over allegations he offered to pay a young man he met through Craigslist "for a really good time."
Rep. Phillip Hinkle, of Indianapolis, told The Indianapolis Star he doesn't deny he sent emails to Kameryn Gibson provided to the paper by Gibson's sister. He told the paper he was "aware of a shakedown taking place," without elaborating, and his attorney, Peter Nugent, said he didn't know what Hinkle meant by that.
Hinkle represents sections of Pike and Wayne townships in Marion County.
Nugent said Hinkle would not comment on the allegations and a private investigation is being conducted.
"What I do not want to do right now is make a premature statement," Nugent said.
Gibson didn't respond to an email seeking comment.
Hinkle had begun meeting with Lake County township officials ahead of township reform proposals likely to be offered during the 2012 legislative session. Earlier this year, Hinkle had joined state Reps. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, and Dan Stevenson, D-Highland, in support of a plan to exempt Griffith residents from paying property taxes to Calumet Township.
According to the Star, the emails suggest Hinkle responded to a Craigslist ad Gibson posted Saturday in the "m4m," or men for men, section, in which Gibson purported to be 18 years old and wrote, "I need a sugga daddy." Gibson told the Star he's actually 20.
Emailing back and forth, Hinkle allegedly offered to pay Gibson up to $140 "for a really good time," and arranged to meet him at an upscale Indianapolis hotel Saturday night.
Gibson told the paper when he and Hinkle were talking in the room, he got cold feet after Hinkle mentioned he was a lawmaker. He said he tried to leave but Hinkle resisted, grabbing his rear end and exposing himself. He said nothing sexual happened between him and Hinkle, and he eventually was able to leave with the help of his sister, who came to get him after he called her from the bathroom.
Daniels said he is saddened by the news, and it's up to Hinkle and those he represents to determine whether he should step aside.
"It's not for me to say, it's between him and his constituents. It's just a personal, a family tragedy, and I'm sad about that," Daniels said.
Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma, who called it "sad and disappointing," said he'll discuss the events with Hinkle.
Hinkle, who is married, voted this year in favor of a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as being only between one man and one woman.
-- Times reporter Dan Carden contributed to this report.