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CEDAR CITY -- News is spreading in Southern Utah of a prostitution sting that netted several people from both Iron and Washington counties. Among those arrested are two university administrators.
Cedar City Attorney Paul Bittmenn said law enforcement has known prostitution has been a problem there for quite some time, but officials had a difficult time finding out who was offering sex for money, so they went after the people soliciting the services.
A joint undercover operation was conducted with agents and officers from the Iron/Garfield Counties Narcotics Task Force, Beaver/Iron County Major Crimes Task Force, Iron County Sheriff's Office, Cedar City Police Department and Utah Adult Probation and Parole. With cooperation from a local motel, the team listed an ad online for those looking to solicit and pay for sex.
"They advertised over the Internet on various websites for a young female to be here in Cedar City over those two dates, and got a tremendous volume of responses and actually had eight folks that showed up and offered -- made an offer for some sort of activity.," Bittmenn said.
Wesley Curtis, a vice president at Southern Utah University, was among the eight people arrested. The school has since put him on paid administrative leave and, in a statement, said, "We are concerned for Wes and his family and extend our love and support as the investigation continues."
Also arrested was Andrew Groft, a former president of George Wythe University, a small liberal arts college.
Groft resigned from his post earlier this year for what the college said was a reason unrelated to these recent allegations.
The current president of George Wythe, Shane Schulthies, told KSL, "This came as a big surprise to us. It was a huge surprise to me personally, and I just hope he can pull things together in his life."
Those arrested were booked into the Iron County Correctional Facility and face charges of patronizing a prostitute, a Class B Misdemeanor.