10/30/2019 - A West Virginia state senator representing Calhoun who was charged with soliciting a prostitute is going to trial. A Marshall County court clerk says a judge on Wednesday set a Dec. 13 jury trial date for Sen. Mike Maroney.|
The Republican lawmaker has pleaded not guilty. He turned himself in in August and was released on a $4,500 bond.
A criminal complaint says Maroney exchanged text messages to discuss prices and set up meetings with a woman who has admitted to being a prostitute. He also sent her a picture of himself so she would agree to meet him.
The 51-year-old Maroney is the chairman of the state Senate Health and Human Resources Committee.
8/29/2019/WV METRONEWS - West Virginia Sen. Mike Maroney (District Counties: Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer (part), Marion (part), Marshall (part), Monongalia (part), Ritchie, Tyler, Wetzel) was arrested and arraigned today on misdemeanor charges involving soliciting prostitution.
Maroney was arraigned this morning, according to the magistrate court in Marshall County. Maroney paid $4,500 bond.
A criminal complaint that was filed Tuesday in magistrate court in Marshall County, says someone used Maroney’s cell phone to solicit a prostitute this past May.
The criminal complaint describes text messages sent from the cell phone to a local woman, who requested a photograph. The request was initially resisted, but eventually a photograph was sent.
On May 16, according to the criminal complaint,the woman “received a photograph from this gentleman, who was looking directly into the camera lens, smiling and wearing a light blue-in-color polo-like shirt, clearly displaying his identity.”
Glen Dale Patrolman Ezekiel Goddard then compared the photograph with one from Maroney’s driver’s license “and believes both pictures to be of Mr. Maroney.”
Maroney did not respond to a cell phone call this morning from MetroNews, although it’s not clear if he is in possession of the phone. His radiology office said he wasn’t yet in, and he didn’t respond to a message left at the office right away.
Maroney’s lawyer, Paul Harris of Wheeling, wasn’t immediately available for comment and was said to be in court all day today.
Maroney, a radiologist, has served in the state Senate since 2016. This past legislative session, Maroney, R-Marshall, served as chairman of the Senate’s Health and Human Resources Committee.
His possible connection with a prostitution sting was first reported earlier this month by The Charleston Gazette-Mail, which described a search for Maroney’s cell phone.
That story also described a letter from Maroney’s attorney that denied Maroney knows the woman, Cortnie Clark.
“We have obtained the video statement of Cortnie Clark, wherein she reveals that she does not know Michael Maroney, nor did she meet with him,” the letter stated.
The Gazette-Mail’s story also included a brief statement by Maroney, who had been reached on the telephone.
“There’s nothing to this story,” Maroney told the Gazette-Mail at that point. “I can’t comment on it, and I’m not going to comment on it, but there’s nothing to this story.”
More broadly, the situation started with a prostitution sting in Glen Dale. Six people were arrested. Maroney was not one of them, but the number eventually traced to him came up in Clark’s phone.
As the Gazette-Mail and then Wheeling’s Intelligencer newspaper described, police had to get a search warrant for Maroney’s vehicle, which had been left at the Pittsburgh International Airport as Maroney traveled, to retrieve the phone.
The criminal complaint that was filed this week described the first documented text message at 12:11 p.m. May 14 when Clark sent “u call last night.”
At 2:18 p.m. that day, she received the response, “yes i can call tonight too at about the same time i work until 2am.”
The criminal complaint describes more messages setting up a meeting at 2 a.m., plus a conversation about a monetary amount and length of time for sexual services.
As the conversation continued, the criminal complaint states, Clark asked for a photograph.
The response was: “i cant send pic… but i am normal and nice.”
Clark replied, “i cant meet w out pic sorry. Have a good night babe.”
The response to her was, “ok sorry i could be a regular.”
Clark then responded that she needed a picture, saying she recently had been robbed by someone using multiple numbers.
The text conversation continued that way until a text came from Maroney’s phone: “i want to meet… if i send pic is it a go?”
After that, the criminal complaint describes conversations setting up multiple encounters in a car and in a house.