Last month, Glen Dale police arrested six people on prostitution charges. Police accused the men of soliciting sex from Cortnie Ann Clark.
Police used Clark’s phone to track down other customers. Police say one of the numbers was to a phone belonging to Marshall County Republican State Senator Mike Maroney.
This week, Glen Dale police issued a warrant for Maroney’s arrest. He turned himself in yesterday and was released on $4,500 bond.
The warrant contains explicit text conversations between Clark and an individual police believe was Maroney. The two discuss price and length of time for her sexual services.
Clark texted that she requires pictures from all her prospective customers. The person police say was Maroney initially refused to send one, but eventually did. Police used that picture taken from Clark’s phone and compared it with Maroney’s drivers license photo.
Police say in the warrant they believe “both pictures to be Mr. Maroney.” The pictures, along with texts from Maroney’s phone, led police to arrest him.
Rumors about Maroney’s possible connection to the prostitute have been circulating for several weeks. A story earlier this month by the Gazette-Mail quoted Maroney denying the allegations.
“There’s nothing to this story,” he told the paper at the time. “I can’t comment on it, and I’m not going to comment on it, but there’s nothing to this story.” MetroNews tried unsuccessfully to reach Maroney yesterday after he was arrested.
Like any defendant, Maroney enjoys a presumption of innocence. The charges against him are misdemeanors. If he is convicted or decides to plead guilty, he will likely get away with a small fine.
So legally, this is a small matter for most. However, Maroney’s case is different because he is a public figure and a legislator. An individual responsible for making state laws should be expected to follow them.
Also, if the allegations are true, they demonstrate incredibly poor judgement by Maroney. According to the complaint, Clark uses prostitution to support her heroin habit. Maroney is chairman of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee, which is responsible for public policy on health-related issues in the state.
Maroney appears to be on thin ice in the Senate. “We obviously take these allegations concerning Senator Maroney very seriously, as they are troubling and deeply disturbing,” said Senate President Mitch Carmichael. “All members of the Senate are held to high standards of conduct. We have full confidence in our legal system and will be issuing further statements as the legal proceedings continue.”
If Maroney is innocent, then his name is being dragged through the mud needlessly. However, if they are true—and Maroney knows the truth—then he should resign immediately to save himself, the Senate and his party any further embarrassment.