Friday, August 19, 2011

Was IMPD Ordered Not To Investigate Phil Hinkle?

It's now been a week since the Indianapolis Star published a front-page expose' linking State Rep. Phil Hinkle to a sex for money scandal involving an 18-year-old gay hustler he met on Craigslist and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has not launched an investigation of the allegations laid out in lurid detail in the state's largest newspaper. While the 18-year-old, Kameryn Gibson, furnished the Star with a chain of e-mail communications, corroborating testimony from his sister and cell phone records to prove his meet-up at a hotel room in the JW Marriott, the 64-year-old Hinkle has refused to speak publicly about the allegations other than to insist he was the victim of a shakedown by Gibson and his sister.

If the facts laid out by Gibson are true, they form the basis for several criminal charges, including solicitation, criminal confinement and obstruction of justice. Indeed, Gibson implicated himself in a crime by publicly admitting he initially agreed to let Hinkle serve as his "sugga daddy" for the night in consideration for a cash payment of $80, plus a "healthy tip" for "services rendered." Gibson claims Hinkle first tried to stop him from leaving the hotel room when he got cold feet and then later offered him gifts and money to remain quiet about the encounter. Gibson claimed he slipped into the bathroom and called his sister to come to the hotel room to get him when Hinkle refused to let him leave. As this blog has exclusively reported, numerous witnesses have confirmed Hinkle was attending a wedding reception at the JW Marriott on the night in question sans wife for the daughter of a powerful Indiana lobbyist, Pat Kiely, the head of the Indiana Manufacturers Association. Witnesses say the guest list was a Who's Who of Indiana Republicans, including Gov. Mitch Daniels. One witness says Hinkle was observed spending a lot of time on his cell phone and wandering in and out of the reception.

The fact that IMPD has not launched an investigation given the overwhelming evidence that a crime may have been committed is hard to overlook, particularly given the fact that IMPD was boasting to Indianapolis media only a week prior to Hinkle's rendezvous with the 18-year-old hustler of their undercover sting operations to combat prostitution taking place downtown in anticipation of next February's Super Bowl game, an event renowned for attracting a large number of prostitutes. IMPD told the Star it was using a city ordinance requiring escorts to obtain a license from the city as a means of levying stiff civil penalties against persons engaged in prostitution. The Indianapolis Star carried a gallery of images as an undercover cop first solicited and then later busted a prostitute at a hotel room near Lucas Oil Stadium just blocks from the JW Marriott. And lest we forget that this is the same police department that has cops working undercover to lure men to engage in sex acts in public bathrooms and the showers at local health clubs and makes their arrests a big public production.

The word on the street is that IMPD is not investigating the incidence as a crime by request from higher ups; instead, party leaders are being given time to convince Hinkle to quietly resign his seat and just allow the incident to fade away. Police could have easily obtained video surveillance footage from the JW Marriott that would have confirmed the comings and goings of Hinkle, Gibson and others on the night in question, as well as records confirming whether Hinkle had rented a hotel room. Some observers believe that it is going to take more than a small push, however, to convince Hinkle to resign. To ease his way into retirement, Hinkle apparently wants to hold on to the seat at least through the end of his term when he will be 65 and be able to draw both social security and a larger legislative pension for twelve years of service in the General Assembly. Hinkle's fellow lawmakers were stunned to see him show up at a legislative study committee hearing shortly after the story broke and act as if nothing had happened.

One local reporter told me that he believed Hinkle had "dodged a bullet" because of the intervening stage collapse tragedy at the Indiana State Fair that pushed his story completely off the radar while reporters rushed to get the latest news on the air and in print. Nonetheless, it seems the media needs to be asking Mayor Greg Ballard and IMPD why the City is not investigating the very crime it boasted to area news media that it took seriously and was taking steps to combat in the lead-up to the Super Bowl activities; otherwise, we can only assume what so many of us already suspect: the rule of law doesn't apply to the privileged elite.


Marc said...

Paul K. Ogden said...


Hinkle would be replaced by someone who is handpicked by Marion County GOP Chairman Kyle Walker and other GOP insiders. I don't know why anyone would want that to happen.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I suppose some people, Paul, feel the same way Democrats in Congress felt about Anthony Weiner hanging around after his social media scandal unfolded. Weiner's transgressions didn't appear to include any violations of the law, unlike Hinkle's. It seems the facts in Hinkle's case are much more serious than they were in Weiner's case.

Bob said...

Proving that prostitution took place would be a difficult thing. Although the intent was clear to virtually everyone, there wasn't an explicit offer to exchange money for sex. "spending time", "suga daddy" etc. doesn't make the cut.

Unless the 18 yo is pressing charges, it's really unlikely that anything could come of the any of the other potentially criminal acts - even if he did, realistically what would be the outcome for a person with no prior record? Virtually nothing but embarrassment.

Look, this is a political issue and probably not a criminal issue unless there's a lot more to it. I would be angry if IMPD was using their limited resources to do what the voters should do.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Well, we at least know it involved getting naked, words used by Hinkle in his e-mails to Gibson. The hustler claims Hinkle actually got naked while he was in the hotel room. It's fine with me if they don't waste their times on these sorts of crimes, but that is not the case. IMPD goes out and conducts stings on people to bust them in the act. Why ignore cases like this involving a public official if you're going to use police resources to bust average joes?

Concerned Taxpayer said...

They are forced to ignore THOUSANDS of ILLEGAL ALIENS in this city. Why should they worry about this. Especially since no one has filed a complaint.

Harry said...

Let see, man who WRITEs the LAW violates it. With most if not all politicians felling the LAW they write does not apply to them, maybe when politicians break the LAW they write they should have to be arrested. Maybe if politicians were held to what they write they would be a little more careful what they write. What happened to "Equality under the Law" except the guys who write it? How about when politicians get caught and convicted they lose their Congressional pension, Congressional health, and all the free things they gave themselves. All they keep is Social Security, and Medicare, the same plan normal Americans get. We could solve the budget problems if we just cut off this crap.