Indiana state Rep. Phillip Hinkle is under pressure to resign, just a day after a series of emails was released to The Indianapolis Star suggesting the politician had arranged a sexual rendezvous with an 18-year-old man via Craigslist.
The Republican state representative had apparently responded to a posting on Craigslist’s “Casual Encounters” section, and offered a young man $80 plus a tip to meet him at an Indianapolis hotel. Hinkle used his publicly listed personal email address to answer an ad looking for a “sugga daddy.” (Feds pay for study of gay men’s penis sizes)
The young man, Kameryn Gibson, says when he met Hinkle and realized who he was, he tried to back out of the deal. Hinkle grabbed him, exposed himself to Gibson, and then offered him an iPad, a blackberry and $100 cash to keep quiet.
When reached by the Star for comment, Hinkle didn’t deny the existence or authenticity of the emails. He would only say he was “aware of a shakedown.” Pressed further, he referred any and all questions to his lawyer.
Now, a number of Indiana political figures have responded to the reports. Fellow Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said he was “sad” when he heard about what had happened and called the incident “a personal family tragedy.”
State Rep. Brian Bosma, a Republican and Indiana’s House Speaker told the Star: “If the circumstances are as reported, it is an extremely sad and disappointing situation for all of us, especially the families involved.”
Aaron Schaler, president of Indiana Stonewall Democrats, said this is the kind of thing that happens “when someone is not allowed, by either community attitudes or personal conflicts, to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Others called for Hinkle’s resignation. Marion County Republican Chairman Kyle Walker strongly recommended “Hinkle resign his position so that he can focus on his family and not have this situation detract from that or the work that needs to continue in his legislative district.” Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb would only say Hinkle needs to “do the right thing,” though he stopped short of using the word “resign.”
Hinkle’s lawyer, Peter Nugent, says he doesn’t know whether his client plans to resign. Nugent was still trying to figure out exactly what had gone down when the Star reached out for comment. “I’m making progress,” Nugent said, but had no further comment.