West Virginia Republican Mike Maroney once took to Twitter to attack a Democrat for having a “low level of moral character,” but now finds himself in a national scandal after being arrested on charges that he arranged sex with a prostitute.
Police in Glen Dale say that the first-term state senator had secretly arranged at least two encounters with a prostitute. As The Intelligencer reported, the 51-year-old Republican was arrested on a series of charges including soliciting a prostitute after investigators said he exchanged a series of text messages with a 30-year-old prostitute between May and June. Police seized the woman’s phone and said they found close to 4,000 text messages from various phone numbers soliciting sex, including messages from Maroney.
The newspaper published a series of the text messages, appearing to show Maroney and the woman arranging prices and times to meet for sexual encounters. At one point, the Republican legislator allegedly offered to become a regular customer, stopping by whenever he was near her town.
“OK, sorry, I could be a regular. … I drive by (Glen Dale) on my way home and would like to have an occasional stop,” the released text message read.
Though the messages were at times explicit and included photos that appeared to identify Mike Maroney, Glen Dale police Chief Edward Vogel said his department was still collecting evidence from Maroney and seeking proof that the two actually had sex. The report seemed to indicate that they may not yet be proof of what actually transpired during the encounters.
“Once you’ve set a price, you’ve engaged,” Vogel said. “You don’t have to do a sex act.”
The charge has led to an immediate backlash against Mike Maroney. As WDTV reported, the West Virginia Democratic Party immediately called for Maroney to be removed from office.
“We’re calling for the removal of Senator Mike Maroney from the West Virginia State Senate, and we’re looking to Governor Jim Justice and Senate President Mitch Carmichael to take the appropriate actions moving forward to make this happen,” read the party’s statement.
During his campaign in 2016, Maroney spoke about his children and touted his Christian values. In a tweet in September of that year, Maroney accused West Virginia Democrats of trying to dismantle Christian values.
West Virginia state Sen. Mike Maroney has been charged with soliciting a prostitute. The Republican lawmaker turned himself in and was arraigned Wednesday morning.https://t.co/h10tvMHYgR
— TribLIVE.com (@TribLIVE) August 28, 2019
Maroney was known for using his Twitter page to launch attacks against prominent Democrats. Last November, he took to Twitter to call out embattled Broward County, Florida, election supervisor Brenda Snipes, calling her a disgrace to democracy and embarrassment to public service.
“How can someone with that low level of moral character sleep at night?” Mike Maroney wrote.