State Representative Resigns Amid Sex Charges

State Representative Resigns Amid Sex Charges

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New Specialist Sandra Yi reportingLegislator Brent Parker, a member of Utah's House of Representatives, has resigned amid facing criminal charges for offering to pay an undercover officer for sex .

Police reports indicate Parker, a Republican from Cache County, was briefly held by officers during an undercover sting operation, aimed at men who solicit sex from male prostitutes.

Brent Parker was seen on the House Floor earlier Friday. He left shortly after turning in his resignation.

House Speaker Marty Stephens spoke briefly about it Friday evening.

"As with any person accused of a crime, there is a presumption of innocence," Stephens said. "I full expect that Representative Parker will be given an opportunity to defend himself through the appropriate process as he sees fit."

Representative Brent Parker handed his resignation to Speaker Marty Stephens Friday afternoon - ending his three year service in the House of Representatives.

"It is with sadness that I announce the resignation of Representative Brent Parker," Stephens told a news conference.

"At the time of his resignation, Representative Parker informed me that on Wednesday, February 26, 2003, he was cited and now stands accused of a crime," Stephens said.

Parker was cited after allegedly soliciting sex from a male undercover police officer on Exchange Place in downtown Salt Lake City.

The police report says Parker invited the officer in his car and asked him if he wanted to get together. The officer told him he was a prostitute and would do sex acts for $15 to $20. The two then drove a few blocks to a parking lot where the officer got in Parker's car. Parker allegedly said he would pay him $20 dollars to perform a sex act. When officers busted him, Parker allegedly told one of them he knew he was taking it too far.

Hours before he resigned, Parker was interviewed by a Deseret News reporter over the phone, and had little to say.

"It's not what it appears, but I don't have a comment. I guess I'd ask if you'd give me the courtesy until the end of the session," Parker said.

His resignation comes five days before the end of this legislative session.

He was elected in 2000 and has served on the Criminal Justice Committee, Natural Resources Appropriations Committee and was vice-chair of the Business and Labor Committee.

Before his service in the House, Parker was on the Cache County Board of Education for eight years. He is married with six children and six grandchildren.

"My heart goes out to Representative Parker and his family during this difficult time. On behalf of the Utah House of Representatives, I wish him well as he works through this period of personal adversity," Stephens said.

You can read more on this story in tomorrow's edition of the Deseret News.

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