British newspaper reports resigned Utah legislator paid escort for sex

In this file photo, then-Rep. Jon Stanard, R-St. George, speaks at the "Issues over Eggs" Q-and-A breakfast, St. George, Utah, Jan. 13, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A British newspaper has reported that Rep. Jon Stanard’s abrupt resignation from the Utah House was due to the fact it was about to publish an account of his having met with an online escort in Salt Lake City for sex last year.

The Daily Mail of London published the account Thursday morning, quoting 39-year-old Brie Taylor of Salt Lake City, who said the St. George Republican paid $250 for sex on two separate occasions while visiting the state capital in 2017.

According to text messages from Taylor published by the Mail, Stanard made initial contact with Taylor in March 2017, saying “Looking at your website. Can you meet?”

Taylor told the Mail she knew who Stanard was after researching his number and looking for further information on Google.

The last text exchange between the two was reported to be in November.

Stanard was reported by the Mail to have been approached about the escort’s story Tuesday night.

Stanard’s resignation wasn’t commonly known until Wednesday morning. Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, R-Draper, said in a statement that Stanard resigned “due to personal and family concerns.”

Hughes also noted Stanard was asking for privacy at this time. No further explanation as to Stanard’s sudden departure was given.

However, Stanard told The Associated Press via a text that the reason for his departure was due to him wanting to spend more more time with his father who lives out of state and has terminal cancer.

Read more: Rep. Stanard resigns from House to address ‘family concerns’

In the wake of the resignation, Stanard took down his social media and campaign websites, and efforts by multiple media outlets to contact him have largely gone unanswered.

The Mail reported that Walter Bugden, Stanard’s attorney, told the paper, “Given the current climate in this country with misconduct allegations and the way things are happening in the media right now, there isn’t any explanation that my client could give that would overcome the shadow of these allegations. He has resigned his office.”

Stanard is a married father of three and lives in St. George. Prior to his resignation he served in House leadership as the chair of the House Rules Committee.

Both the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune reported approaching Taylor for an interview but were referred to the reporter who covered the original story, Shanti Das. Taylor said she gave it to Das as “exclusive.”

Das reports for the South West News Service, a newswire in the United Kingdom and United States.

Presently based in New York, Das told the Utah newspapers that her news service is telling Taylor’s story on her behalf and didn’t want to speak to anyone else. Das also said Taylor was the one that approached them with the story.

As to whether the newswire paid for Taylor’s story, Das said, “I don’t really see how that’s relevant.”

According to Fox 13 News, legislators largely chose not to comment Thursday on the allegations flung Stanard’s way.

Speaker Hughes said little on the subject Thursday, though reiterated Stanard was no longer a member of the Utah House.

Rep. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, who sat next to Stanard on the House floor, told Fox 13 he was “shocked and disappointed.”

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, and other Senate leadership were shocked at the claims; Niederhauser is questioning if the state should investigate the potential misuse of taxpayer money related to the allegations.

“I think that’s definitely something we have to consider and maybe even demand at that point,” Niederhauser told Fox 13 News. “But it’s hard for me to determine that until we know what the facts are.”

As Stanard is no longer a member of the Legislature, Hughes’ office said there would be no ethics investigation. There may be a question of whether or not Stanard used money from a state-allotted stipend for the activities he is accused of. The state may be asking for that money back if the allegations turn out to be true, Fox 13 reported. However, the state doesn’t track how legislators use that money.

Stanard was elected to the Utah House in 2012 to represent House District 62 located in Washington County. In addition to serving on the Rules Committee prior to resignation, he also served on the House’s Revenue and Taxation Committee, Business and Labor Committee and Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

Ed. note: This story was updated to add comments from members of the Utah Legislature via Fox 13 News.


Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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  • stg-anon February 8, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Utah Republicans are on a roll this week cementing their credentials as the “moral party”

  • Chris February 8, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    nothing pumps up the prostitution business in Salt Lake more than the legislature being in session.

    • McMurphy February 8, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      LOL you beat me to it. Party time !!

      • Chris February 8, 2018 at 2:52 pm

        reminds me of the “all female staff” shoeshine parlor that flourished for a time in downtown SLC, a particular favorite of the legislators. the regular shine was 50 cents, and the deluxe spit shine was $100.

  • dons8120 February 8, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    From the pictures on the below website, I think he got ripped off at $250 an hour.

  • Caveat_Emptor February 8, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Plenty of guys are guilty of stepping out on their wives, and paying for the privilege. This sounds like a refreshingly simple transaction, although the fee seems a little expensive. No black eyes, no torture, just a simple fee for service. Glad to see his swift action, and hopefully he will sort this out with his family out of the public eye.

    This does not compare to WH staffer Rob Porter who abused both his ex-wives, while agents of the LDS Church dissuaded them from going public because of his “career”. If we believe his ex-wives, he should be charged with sexual assault, and the church should be called out for its complicity…..

  • NickDanger February 8, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    I knew it was something shady. Politicians are simply not capable of acting for altruistic motives.

  • comments February 8, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    honestly i thought it would be something ‘juicier’. To be fair, I’d never call the daily mail a newspaper. it’s a scum sucking, bottom feeding tabloid.

    • 12345 February 8, 2018 at 11:11 pm

      Yes you do have a habit of making claims of several issue’s before the facts come out just to show you had no idea what was going on

      • comments February 9, 2018 at 12:10 am

        well dump, by my predictions on the previous article i’d say i was pretty frickin’ close. Had it been a gay male prostitute i’d have been dead on.

        • 12345 February 9, 2018 at 6:49 am

          Well there’s nothing like shooting off your mouth before you get the facts is there

  • asianspa February 8, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    This “escort” must have really known her St. George clientele very well… she knew by offering a discount this little schmoe Stanard would be coming back and looking for his discounted service! Does anybody turn down a discount anything in St. George? Why should he resign? He represents the liars and cheaters in the St. George business community well and his whole life is a lie so he actually is a fit representative of the area. Should have stayed in office…

  • jaybird February 9, 2018 at 9:40 am


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