A former Utah lawmaker who abruptly resigned this week reportedly paid an escort for sex as recently as last year, according to a British tabloid.
Republican Jon Stanard of St. George unexpectedly stepped down from the Utah House on Tuesday night. By Wednesday morning, his Facebook and campaign websites were down, and his desk on the House floor was cleared.
The Daily Mail report showed screenshots of text messages between Stanard and Brie Taylor, a call girl, arranging to meet for sex. The dates align with when Stanard, who is married with children, would have been in Salt Lake City for legislative business.
The two met twice for sex and Stanard reportedly paid her $250 for an hour each time.
Stanard, who had served in the legislature since 2013, identified as a conservative who promoted family values. In 2017, he voted to increase penalties for soliciting a prostitute. In 2016, he voted to declare pornography a public health crisis in Utah.
In his resignation letter to House Speaker Greg Hughes, Stanard said he was resigning for “immediate personal and family concerns.” The former lawmaker told the Associated Press Wednesday that he wanted to spend more time with his father, who has cancer and lives out of state.
Hughes and other members of House leadership declined to comment on the sex allegations against Stanard.
According to the text messages, Stanard first reached out to Taylor on March 7, 2017—two days before the end of the 2017 legislative session. They arranged to meet for sex at Stanard’s Salt Lake City hotel room on March 8. Taylor canceled but the two eventually arranged meetings in June and August 2017
Records from Utah's House of Representatives show taxpayer funds were used to pay for those two hotel stays.
House Chief of Staff Greg Hartley told The Associated Press that the Legislature reimbursed Stanard for hotel stays at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Salt Lake City in June and August 2017. Hartly also said the phone used by Stanard to arrange the meetings was a state-issued cell phone, but all the text messages were deleted.
Residents in Stanard’s St. George district are now without a House representative. The Washington County Republican Party said it is holding a special election on Monday and hopes to have the seat filled next week.
This story may be updated as more information becomes available.