Utah state Rep. Jon Stanard (R–District 62) proficiently spouted the standard family-values Republican fare. The married father of three may have also been paying for sex.
Stanard resigned "unexpectedly" on Tuesday, citing "personal and family concerns," said Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes in a statement. Stanard told the AP he wanted to spend more time with his father, who has terminal cancer.
But on Thursday, Stanard—whose now-defunct website touted him as a "lifelong social conservative" dedicated to preserving "family values" and "traditional marriage"—was accused in the Daily Mail by escort Brie Taylor of paying her for sex at a Salt Lake City hotel on two occasions. According to Taylor, Stanard reached out to her first in March 2017 after viewing her website. She was unable to meet then, but they did get together when he was back in town that June and again in August. Both dates correspond with times Stanard was in Salt Lake City for legislative committee meetings.
Beyond the (now routine) revelation that a so-called socially conservative legislator may have failed to follow his own ethical rules, the accusation is notable because it suggests another frequent form of hypocrisy. In 2017, Stanard voted in favor of a bill raising the penalty for soliciting paid sexual activity to $2,500.
"I was surprised when I found out that he voted in favor of stricter laws," Taylor told the Daily Mail.
"This is a Republican state so you have to stick with your buddies otherwise it will hurt your career but on the other hand, he is a john," Taylor continued. "It is hypocritical because he is supporting laws that make it stricter for other men who do what he does."
It isn't unusual for a public official to take a tough-on-prostitution stance publicly while secretly engaging sex workers' services. For instance, former Trump campaign coordinator and Oklahoma state senator Ralph Shortey, elected on a "family values" platform, was recently found in a hotel room with a 17-year-old boy he had paid for sex. And just about every week, there are news stories in which the same cops who help arrest sex workers also pay for their services or just demand sex from them.
Stanard's attorney attempted to blame the #MeToo movement for necessitating the legislator's resignation. "Given the current climate in this country with misconduct allegations and the way things are happening in the media right now," he told the Mail, "there isn't any explanation that my client could give that would overcome the shadow of these allegations."