ST. GEORGE — A former Southern Utah GOP official who was arrested in February after a prostitution sting by St. George Police pleaded guilty Tuesday to soliciting sex from a prostitute.
Prior to the sting operation, Blake Floyd Cozzens, 28, of Cedar City, held the position of treasurer for the Iron County Republican Party.
After filing the guilty plea in court, Cozzens was sentenced to 12 months of probation and a fine of $1,000.
Cozzens was among seven other men from Southern Utah who were arrested as part of the sting operation. They all responded to an ad for prostitution on backpage.com by a confidential informant, according to the probable cause statements filed by St. George Police in support of the arrests.
Each of the men negotiated sex acts in exchange for money in text messages with the confidential informant, according to court documents. They were arrested after meeting at a prearranged location and paying between $100 and $150 for the sex acts they had discussed.
Besides Cozzens, the other men arrested in the prostitution sting were Jay Taylor, 44; Tony Jensen, 47; Michael Low Jr., 30; Jorge Vallejo, 41; James Cooper, 61; and Ryan Blanchard, 24.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Andrew Young, chairman of the Iron County Republican Party, said Cozzens had resigned from his position at the Iron County GOP.
“While we as a party leadership don’t condone this kind of behavior, we know that everyone has a right to due process in the law,” Young wrote in the Facebook post before asking the community to be respectful of Cozzens and his family.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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