Disgraced Former Arizona Legislator on Child Prostitution: ‘I Don’t Like to Demonize It’
Former Arizona Rep. David Stringer was forced to resign last month after allegations that he committed child rape in the 1980s came to light. Adding to the mounting case against the disgraced legislator, Stringer was also caught on tape claiming he doesn’t like to “demonize” child sex trafficking.
Stringer attended a 2018 Republican Women of Prescott meeting where he was questioned by Republican Liberty Caucus activist Merissa Hamilton, who is particularly focused on preventing child abuse. She confronted him on the issue of child sex trafficking, and was blown away by the legislator’s response.
“I don’t like to demonize it,” Stringer said.
Stringer would continue on to downplay the threat of child sex trafficking. He admitted that there are “a lot of 15-year-old prostitutes,” but chuckled it off as not much of a concern. What makes his flippant response even more troubling is what investigators found about his record when he lived in Maryland in the 1980s.
The Arizona House of Representatives discovered a Baltimore police report from 1983 while investigating the former legislator’s record. The report alleged that Stringer had paid a pair of boys $10 a piece to perform oral sex on them after meeting them in a park.
“[Name redacted] said that about a year ago he was in Patterson Park with a boy [name redacted] when a man stopped and asked if they wanted to go to his house and have some sex,” the report states.
“They did perform the sex act on Mr. Stringer … After this the boys were given ten dollars ($10.00) a piece and they left,” the report added.
Stringer also allegedly sexually abused one child who had a developmental disability. He victimized children as young as 13 years old, according to the report. Because certain records were expunged by a Baltimore judge in 1990, the exact details of Springer’s conviction and sentence are largely unknown.
Stringer’s attorney attempted to use the ambiguity related to the expungement to cast doubt on the police report.
“The allegations … are false and Mr. Stringer denies them all,” Stringer’s attorney, Carmen Chenal said. “He never committed a crime. He was never convicted.”
That excuse wouldn’t cut it in the court of public opinion, and Stringer was forced to resign on Mar. 27 just before an important deadline where he was going to be forced by the House to produce evidence about his mysterious past.
Hamilton, the whistle-blower who led the charge against Stringer since he made the troubling comments about child sex trafficking, is pleased that Stringer is no longer a blight on the Arizona state GOP but feels that far more needs to be done to protect victims.
“Essentially, he resigned, he declares his innocence and an investigation happened,” Hamilton told NBC 12 News. “I don’t know. I’m not sure if that’s considered justice or not.”
“We need to have proper protections … so that they can come forward when these situations happen, without having to be retaliated against, without having to bankrupted over having the courage to speak up,” Hamilton added.
Arizona legislators from both major political parties were disgusted by Stringer’s record and his comments.
“Upon reading the report, I was sickened,” House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) said. “This is very disturbing.”
“The evidence that he was trying to withhold from the Ethics Committee must be damning since he chose to quit rather than comply with a subpoena,” House Minority Co-Whip Reginald Bolding (D-Phoenix) said in a press statement.
Stringer’s Baltimore police report from the 1980s can be viewed here, and the final report commissioned by the House Ethics Committee can be seen here. Arizona voters can be thankful they have seen the last of this disreputable individual in their state politics.