Friday, August 12, 2011

Say It Ain't So, Phil

Facebook image of 18-year-old Kameryn Gibson

I'm totally stunned by this story in this morning's Star detailing how State Rep. Phil Hinkle (R-Indianapolis) and Wayne Township educator met a young man on Craigslist to whom he offered $80 to spend some time with him at the J.W. Marriott last Saturday night and actually met up later with the 18-year-old at the hotel. Alex Campbell has this jaw-dropping story:

Emails shared with The Indianapolis Star suggest that state Rep. Phillip Hinkle -- responding to a local posting on Craigslist -- offered a young man $80 plus tip to spend time with him Saturday night at the JW Marriott hotel.
The emails, sent from Hinkle's publicly listed personal address, ask the young man for "a couple hours of your time tonight" and offer him cash up front, with a tip of up to $50 or $60 "for a really good time."
The email exchange is in response to the Craigslist posting in which the young man -- who lists his age as 20 in the ad but says he is 18 years old -- says, "I need a sugga daddy."
The young man told The Star that they met, but that he tried to leave after the man told him he was a state lawmaker. He said the lawmaker at first told him he could not leave, grabbed him in the rear, exposed himself to the young man and then later gave him an iPad, BlackBerry cellphone and $100 cash to keep quiet.
When contacted by The Star about the emails, Hinkle, a Republican who represents portions of Pike and Wayne townships, did not contest the emails but said, "I am aware of a shakedown taking place."
Asked what he meant by shakedown, Hinkle would not elaborate. He directed further questions to his attorney.
Hinkle's lawyer, defense attorney Peter Nugent, said he was unable to say what Hinkle meant by a "shakedown." Nugent said he is investigating the situation, but he does not know what happened Saturday. Nugent said he has not filed a police report and does not yet know whether he will.

Asked whether he had seen the emails and the Craigslist posting, Nugent said, "Oh, I've seen some emails, but not all of them." He would not be more specific.

"I'm trying to get to the bottom of everything involved," Nugent said.

On Wednesday, Nugent faxed this "official statement":

"Representative Hinkle is aware of the inquiries by The Indianapolis Star and we are investigating the matter at this time. We request that everyone respect the privacy of the family at this time."

Hinkle, 64, who lists his occupation as coordinator for community partnerships for Wayne Township Schools on the Indiana House website, has been a state lawmaker since 2000. He is best known in the Statehouse for his interest in local government issues. On the website, he also notes he was a co-author of the bill that created the "In God We Trust" license plate.

The young man, Kameryn Gibson, told The Star he posted the Craigslist ad in the "Casual Encounters" section under m4m, which is shorthand for men for men. He used his adopted sister's email address.
The story gets much worse. It says Hinkle's family became involved after the boy's sister came and picked him up at the hotel and even offered the sister $10,000 as hush money. This is bad:
Gibson said he had posted on Craigslist before but had never met up with someone. Knowing he was in a bedroom with a politician, Gibson said, he got cold feet.
"Yeah, I don't want to do this," Gibson said he told Hinkle.
He said Hinkle's response was: "You need to do this, because I came and got you, and I'm not taking you back until we do what we need to do."
Gibson excused himself to the bathroom. There, he called his sister Megan. She said she would come get him immediately.
When Gibson came out, he said Hinkle told him he couldn't leave. Gibson called his sister again. This time, Megan told him to put her on speakerphone.
"I started cussing him," Megan told The Star. She also threatened to call the police and the local media.
"He said, 'I'll give you whatever,'" Megan said.
But when they hung up, Kameryn Gibson said Hinkle grabbed him by the right arm, just below the shoulder. Gibson said it was then that Hinkle grabbed him in the rear, dropped his towel and sat down on the bed -- naked.
When Megan Gibson arrived to pick up her brother, she again threatened to call police and the local media.
Kameryn and Megan Gibson said Hinkle then offered his iPad, a BlackBerry and $100 in cash.
Kameryn Gibson walked past his sister and out of the room as she continued to yell at Hinkle.
"She was still going off," Kameryn Gibson said, "and I was like, 'OK, I think that's enough, I think he gets it.' "
Megan Gibson said that on the drive back, she began receiving a series of calls on the BlackBerry, including one from a woman who said she was Hinkle's wife.
"I was like, 'Your husband is gay,' " Megan said. "And then she was like, 'You have the wrong person.' "
Megan read her the email address:
The line went silent.
"Just for a couple seconds," Megan Gibson said, "and the first thing she said was, 'Please don't call the police.' "
Phone messages left with Hinkle's wife late Thursday were not returned.
Megan Gibson said she then began receiving a series of calls from various family members -- including from Hinkle's son-in-law, demanding that his wife see proof of the emails.
Megan Gibson dropped off her brother then returned to the JW Marriott, where she showed Hinkle's daughter the emails.
Megan Gibson said on her way back, she received another call from Hinkle's wife.
"The first thing she said, she was like, 'OK, we will give you $10,000 not to say anything,' " said Megan Gibson, who said she was now becoming scared. "I was like, 'OK,' and I hung up the phone."
She soon got another call -- from the Marriott hotel. It was Hinkle. Megan Gibson told Hinkle that she had informed his wife and family that he was gay.
Megan Gibson said Hinkle's response was: "You just ruined me."
No, Phil, you just ruined yourself. I guess this explains the e-mail I received from Phil the other day noting a change in his e-mail address. I expect Hinkle's resignation will be announced before the end of the day. This is another reason why doctors should stop prescribing Viagra to their aging male patients.

UPDATE: WISH-TV's Jim Shella is reporting this comment from House Speaker Brian Bosma on Hinkle's problem:

“If the circumstances are as reported, it is an extremely sad and disappointing situation for all of us, especially the families involved. Our next step will be to try to discuss this matter with Representative Hinkle and chart a course from there.”

The Bilerico Project, an LGBT national blog founded by former Indianapolis resident Bil Browning, put out a call earlier this year for assistance in outing closeted Indiana lawmakers who backed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages in Indiana. Browning claims in a post this morning that at least three men contacted him after he put out his call claiming they had met Hinkle for sex in hotel rooms before the Star  broke this morning's story:

One of the most frequently e-mailed subjects was Republican representative Phil Hinkle. While none of my correspondents could provide any actual proof, three different men told me they had met Rep Hinkle for sex in an Indianapolis hotel room. All three were able to describe Rep Hinkle's penis in detail and all three descriptions matched, but it just didnt' seem like enough for me to print the allegations.
A google search indicates the story has gone viral on the Internet. Not looking good.

Gov. Daniels is describing the situation as a "family tragedy." He's not yet calling for Hinkle's resignation. “It’s not for me to say. It’s for him and his constituents. It’s just a personal family tragedy,” Daniels said, adding that he was “sad about it.”

UPDATE II: Hinkle is getting a nudge from Marion Co. GOP Chairman Kyle Walker to resign. Walker just released this statement:

"If the allegations are true, this is a very sad situation. I strongly recommend that Representative 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."
And another nudge from Indiana GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb who says Hinkle needs to "do the right thing":

Asked if that meant the six-term lawmaker should resign, Holcomb said that he “would word it differently.”
“There’s only a few people who know the facts at this point,” Holcomb said. “I would hope that those that do, and have influence over them, would do the right thing, and I think they’ll know what that is.”
Someone who may want Hinkle's seat is more direct:

While Holcomb did not use the word “resign,” Andy Harris, the Wayne Township trustee and former Wayne Township GOP chairman, said that’s what Hinkle needs to do.
Harris attends St. Christopher Catholic Church with Hinkle, and considers him a friend. Hinkle’s district includes parts of Wayne Township.
The people he has spoken to in Wayne Township, Harris said, are “just shocked and floored.”
“It is not something they expected from Phil Hinkle,” he said. “But if found to be true, he definitely needs to step down... There’s no way I could support somebody running for an elected office doing that to their spouse and their family.”

WTHR's Kevin Rader scored an interview with the 18-year-old Gibson about his encounter with Hinkle last Saturday at the J.W. Marriott. He tells Rader he had a case of buyer's remorse after Hinkle turned out to be a much older man than he had anticipated hooking up with for sex. He says he decided to go public with his story after he learned Hinkle was a prominent state legislator who held anti-gay views. I'll link to the story when it appears on WTHR's website.


Cato said...

I don't care that Phil likes 18 year old boys. Lots of women and some men do. The fact that 18 year old boys are widely desired is proof that it's normal to be attracted to 18 year old boys. Mores follow science, not the other way 'round.

What troubles me is Hinkle's intolerant legislative positions regarding homosexuality. As I said a while back, there is a lot of hiding behaviour in the Republican opposition to homosexuality. This hiding is cowardice.

If you're occasionally attracted to boys, have the guts to admit that it's somewhere in human, and your own, nature and was put there long before you were ever born. Quit demonizing consensual and instinctive conduct.

Is it the case that when you hit your 60's, you think younger men are attractive? The Greeks and Romans did. Perhaps this is human nature. In any event, this attraction frequently occurs, so whatever frequently occurs is not deviance, but a norm.

Republicans would be well served to admit that humans have desires, and they should admit that it's not the state's place to interfere in consensual conduct. Isn't this supposed to be the party of "limited government?"

Phil, you can have your boys; I don't care, and I won't judge. If your mind causes you to have certain appetites, who am I to speak on what appetites you should have? In exchange for my tolerance, you must now find the courage to admit the same on gambling, Sunday liquor sales and prostitution. It doesn't hurt you if I bet on the Raiders' game, and you should not use state power to interfere in what I want.

Wouldn't it be a great world if we let people do what they wanted and we admitted that humans operate on innate desires and not those unnatural and destructive demands proffered by opportunistic religious leaders?

Don't resign, Phil. That would be more cowardice. You will retain all your credibility, and more, if you admit you were wrong on homosexuality, that you recant your position, and the only reason you hold that position is because the Republicans exert so much conformist pressure on their membership.

Bob said...

I think it's unfortunate that a person can't be a public servant and be openly gay.

This is why we need gay marriage - so that there's a legitimate and healthy expression of sexuality instead of this type of thing where it ruins a marriage and a person's life - not to mention the 18yo kid.

I will be honest, my view of this is that his personal life is his - being a public figure doesn't change that... until it gets into an area that's illegal or grossly hypocritical.

...And how did he vote on enshrining discrimination into the state constitution?

Cato said...

"This is another reason why doctors should stop prescribing Viagra to their aging male patients."

So because we have a law that keeps people from being able to exercise occasional sexual urges consensually, we need another restriction that keeps all aging men from obtaining a product that enhances their lives?

Another entry in my journal of Why I Am Not a Republican.

1. It's none of our business what Hinkle's tastes are.

2. This episode is merely another lesson that prohibitions always fail.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

Well, women have always known that there's no such thing as an adult male.

Morning Constitutional said...

Now of course we will see the usual stuff from the likes of Micah Clark of the Indiana American Family Association, Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute, not to mention Eric Miller of Advance America. They'll get all in a snit about accusations that the kind of self-righteous homophobic hypocrisy that the Republican Party has let itself become captured by is the kind of thing that causes all too many gay men to marry, raise children, become respected members of their churches and communities, yet hide who they are. One would only wish that if the stories are true, Representative Hinkle would call them out and expose the pious do-gooders for what they are.

So far as I know, Hinkle generally mouthed the party line on the marriage amendment and other related social issues, but not glaringly so like some of his more self-righteous legislative colleagues.

Wouldn't it be great if someone like Hinkle just stood up in the legislative chamber and said "Enough of this! Had there been the availability of same-sex marriage, civil unions, or at least some kind of domestic partnership recognition, I might have felt more accepted by my fellow Hoosiers and not have felt the need to hide my sexual orientation."

It will likely happen again, because nobody in the sane part of the Indiana GOP seems to have the courage to tell it like it really is. From Governor Daniels on down.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The Viagra comment is in jest. Lighten up, Cato.

ifan said...

It's possible to be gay and be against gay marriage.

Perhaps Hinkle represents a constituency that is opposed to gay marriage and votes accordingly.

But Hinkle should not have gotten into behavior that would become embarrassing for him if it became public. By trying to force himself onto somebody, that just makes him look even more creepy.

Septly said...

Rep. Hinkle should resign and he should be prosecuted, assuming the allegations are true. Also, my main concern is not that he solicited prostitution.

I do not personally object to people hiring prostitutes, though I would note we have a law against prostitution, and elected officials are sworn to uphold the law. However, I DO object to sexual assault. Also, I object to hypocrites who campaign against gay rights when they are themselves engaging in closeted homosexual behavior.

Contrary to what Cato posted, once the young man said he did not want to go through with the sex act and said he wanted to leave and Phil Hinkle tried to prevent him from doing so, then the incident stopped being consensual. Grabbing someone in the buttocks without their permission is criminal sexual battery. Confining someone to an area against their will is criminal confinement.

Phil Hinkle should be ashamed of himself.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Cato, as I recall, Phil Hinkle has not been one of those many Republicans constantly talking about being a christian or supporting "family values."

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Well, I find it odd that when it was Bill Clinton, it was "private," and "didn't matter."
Then, there's Barney Frank. And many others on the left.
But when it's a republican, the left comes unglued. Why is that?

Had Enough Indy? said...

I'm so sorry to hear of all of this.

Phil was the only one to come to Decatur Township's aid a few years ago when Gordon Hendry and Bart Peterson were throwing us under the bus. I have always found him to be approachable and down to earth. He never seemed keen on towing the party line just to please the powers that be. There are many reasons to think he has done a good job as a legislator. And, yes, this report does suggest hypocrisy on his part. But that cannot be viewed as the entire picture.

I certainly hope that some of the details of this encounter as reported are not true.

Paul K. Ogden said...


President Clinton was having sex with a subordinate in the workplace. Saying it was a "private" matter is a stretch. Nonethless, that's not what he got in trouble for. Clinton got impeached for lying under oath repeatedly.

Bob said...

Concerned Taxpayer:

Nope, don't think so...
The Left isn't coming unglued about this, it's the Righteous Right.
Good try with the straw man though.

The Left will call them out when they talk about family values and are picking up guys in the bathroom.

For the most part, I don't want to know about their sex life, what god they pray to, etc. I just want them to do a job and show real leadership

Indy man said...

Rep. Hinkle obviously did something wrong, but I interpreted the story differently.

The "victim" was a prostitute; the "sister" was a pimp; and Rep. Hinkle was a john. When they realized that Hinkle was a public figure, they decided it would be more profitable to switch their racket to blackmail.
Rep. Hinkle decided not to go any deeper into the quicksand, and he refused to submit to blackmail. The pimp followed through on her threats and proceeded to embarrass Hinkle. Rep. Hinkle is in the difficult position of trying to charge the other parties with blackmail without admitting that he did a criminal act himself.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Indy man - I hope you are correct. If you are, there is no way that Phil should resign.

Michael Hegg said...

An alleged solicitor of a prostitute, trying to press charges against an alleged black-mailer. (pun not intended)

That's a great defense.

No one blackmailed him to troll craigslist. No one blackmailed him into communicating with the kid and lamenting the fact that he couldnt be a "full-time" sugar-daddy, etc, etc.

He needs to resign. The position is not larger than him, he doesn't own it-his constituents do.

When you put yourself high up on a pedestal, ala public service, the more visible you are, and subject to criticism, like it or not.

He better hope this kid doesnt decide to become a victim and have a prosecutor from the opposition party (Curry) file charges of patronizing, battery, or attempt confinement.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Like Gary, i am also stunned by this story. Just what we need; another sex scandal to take up news time. Not.

Cato said...

Ogden's right. This was a straight-up shakedown.

Citizen Kane said...

Yeah, Hinkle is not so bad - particularly in comparison to others, he appears pretty independent; but he doesn't really try to fight the establishment - I mean really fight!

But having said that, nothing about this surprises me - when I have personal knowledge of the crap that people do, who are in government "service," and get away with. What surprises me is that it was exposed relatively soon after the event.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Hinkle should consider himself lucky. Back in the late 1980s, the president of the Bar Association, Don Jackson, had a thing for young male hustlers. He picked the wrong kid up, took him to a sleazy motel on the west side and wound up stabbed to death. The hustler ran off with his keys, wallet and car. The Star had to run a sketch of him in the newspaper before someone from his family was able to figure out it was Jackson. When the kid was tried, the jury let him off on a manslaughter charge because he claimed he got scared when Jackson insisted on having real rough sex with him and stabbed him in self defense. Jackson was quite familiar to Indianapolis Police, who had caught him on numerous occasions cruising for sex from male hustlers down by the Indianapolis Central Library.

Covenant60 said...

Don Jackson conducted my morals and fitness interview which was (still is?) a prerequisite for sitting for the bar exam.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I should add that I can't even remember the name of the guy who administered my character and fitness exam. He was a retired attorney who asked me to come to his home on the far northside of Indy. We sat on his back porch of his home for about an hour while he told me about his successful career as an attorney. Near the end of the hour-long meeting he told me that he had looked over the list of attorneys who vouched for me and they were all good people so I must be an okay person. Before I got up to leave he asked me, "I just have one question, Gary, Do you have the moral fitness and character to be a good lawyer?" I answered, "Yes." He responded, "That's all I need to know. You have a good day and good luck."