State Rep. Phil Hinkle admitted Tuesday that he paid a young man $80 to have a good time. But Hinkle insisted he isn't gay and doesn't know why he did it . . .
Hinkle's version of what happened that night in Room 2610 at the JW Marriott hotel differs greatly from the version provided by the young man and his sister . . .
Hinkle's version: He never exposed himself and never offered anything to the Gibsons to keep quiet. Instead, he said, Kameryn Gibson stole those items when Hinkle was in the bathroom.
"These people," Hinkle said, "are lying through their teeth." . . .
Hinkle acknowledged he picked up Kameryn Gibson and drove him to the hotel, giving him $80 in the car. But when they arrived, Hinkle said, they simply made small talk about baseball and the view from the hotel -- nothing further.
"I went to the edge," Hinkle said, "but I didn't fall over the edge."
Hinkle then went to the bathroom, he said. When he came back out, he said Kameryn Gibson was gone -- and so were his money clip, his business card holder, his BlackBerry and his iPad.
Hinkle said he thinks Gibson found out he was a state lawmaker when he looked through the money clip.
After Gibson had left, Hinkle said he spoke with Megan Gibson via his hotel phone. He said she mentioned something about talking to Fox 59 and being offered $6,000.
At that point, Hinkle said, he thought maybe they were extorting him. Hinkle said that his daughter later met with Megan Gibson and retrieved the BlackBerry, as well as his business card holder and state identification.
Hinkle said he never met Megan Gibson in person, and hopes that he and his lawyer will find hotel security tapes that prove she never came up to the room.
Hinkle also forcefully denied Megan Gibson's assertion that Hinkle's wife called and offered them $10,000 to keep quiet.
"Anybody who knows my wife," Hinkle told The Star's political columnist, Matthew Tully, "knows she would not pay $10 to keep a mistake I made quiet, let alone $10,000."
Hinkle said he does not plan to file a police report about the items he alleges the Gibsons stole.
"I got everything back but the iPad," Hinkle said, "and quite frankly, if that makes them feel good, so be it."
For their part, Gibson and his sister, who came and picked him up at the hotel, are standing by their story. Megan Gibson told Campbell that Hinkle is a "liar" and "crazy." She has a point. How many straight men pay young boys to go to expensive hotel rooms with them just to talk? It sort of reminds me of Bill Clinton's famous answer to Phil Donahue's question about whether he ever smoked pot: "I smoked, but I didn't inhale."
If IMPD and the Marion Co. Prosecutor are serious about enforcing the laws against prostitution they so willingly enforce against other citizens, then it seems to me they have an obligation to launch an investigation of the incident. You have Gibson admitting that he was at a minimum working as an escort without a license in violation of a city ordinance. If you go back and check city council records, you will likely find that Hinkle voted to enact the very ordinance in question while he was a member of the City-County Council in order to combat the very activities Gibson and Hinkle admit occurred. Gibson claims Hinkle first tried to stop him from leaving the hotel room and then later offering him money to remain silent. Those actions could be argued to be crimes. Hinkle has accused Gibson, in turn, of theft and extortion. Neither of them look good in this ordeal and both arguably broke the law. It is no surprise then that neither of them are going to file a police complaint against the other.
I also find it curious that the Star continues to leave out of the story the information that I first reported on about Hinkle being at the JW Marriott on the night in question to attend a wedding reception for the daughter of a powerful lobbyist, Pat Kiely, head of the Indiana Manufacturers Association. The guest list at the reception was a Who's Who of Indiana Republicans, including Gov. Mitch Daniels. Persons attending the reception observed Hinkle, who came without his wife, wandering in and out of the reception and spending a great deal of time on his cell phone.
Given the information we now know, Bosma and his Republican colleagues have no choice other than to call on Hinkle to resign. Who could argue that Hinkle's actions were not worse than Congressman Anthony Weiner's inappropriate sextings? Weiner, who is also married, earlier this summer caused a stir when it was revealed that he had engaged in x-rated conversations via Twitter with women and exchanged lewd images of himself with them. Weiner resigned his seat under pressure from House Democratic leaders.
UPDATE: Matt Tully met up with Hinkle at a Starbucks in Kokomo to discuss his predicament. His column today discusses his meeting, including a question he put to Hinkle if he had hooked up with guys before under similar circumstances. "When I asked whether he had previously arranged such encounters, he quickly answered, 'We're not going there.'" That doesn't sound like a denial. The Bilerico Project's Bil Browning earlier claimed that he had been contacted by three men who had claimed to have hooked up with Hinkle at hotels in the past for sex. Browning had requested information from people on hypocritical legislators during this year's debate over the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, a proposal supported by Hinkle. Tully said Hinkle responded to criticism that he is a hypocrite by insisting he had never been a "judgmental Bible thumper." Hinkle blames his action on mental health issues for which he is seeking professional treatment, including years' old issues he had with his father.