ST. GEORGE – The Utah Legislature is on “high alert” Friday following a possible case of entrapment involving a Southern Utah senator and a woman who showed up at his hotel room claiming to be his “date.”
During a Utah Senate daily press briefing Friday afternoon, Cedar City Republican Sen. Evan Vickers shared the story of the strange encounter he had with a woman at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City Thursday evening.
While getting ready to meet with a colleague and head to a college basketball game, Vickers said, he heard a knock on his hotel room door. When he opened the door, he was greeted by what he described as a “normal-looking,” brown-haired woman in her 30s.
“When I opened my door there was a young lady standing there,” he said. “She said ‘Hi,’ and I said, ‘Hi, who are you?’ She said ‘I’m your date,’ and I said, ‘No, you’re not.’”
The woman insisted, saying they had “reservations downtown.”
The senator said he asked what room number she may be looking for, with the woman responding, “You don’t understand, I’m your date.”
Vickers ultimately closed the door on the woman and sent a text message to his colleague who he had planned to meet in the hotel lobby. Vickers asked him to come to his room and get him, which he did. The two left for the basketball game and reported the strange incident to hotel security shortly thereafter.
“It certainly had all the feel of entrapment,” Vickers said.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said the incident, which is currently being investigated by law enforcement, comes on the heels of accusations published Wednesday in the British tabloid The Daily Mail about Rep. Jon Stanard allegedly paying an escort for sex last year.
Stanard, a St. George Republican, abruptly resigned from the Utah House Tuesday night with little explanation, though “family concerns” were cited as a reason afterward. The Daily Mail published the report the next day in which the escort, there identified as Brie Taylor, said Stanard paid her for sex.
The reporter who covered the story for the Daily Mail would not say if Taylor was paid for her story.
After being told of Vickers’ encounter, Niederhauser said state lawmakers have been advised to be on “high alert” for possible situations where others with “malintent” may be targeting them and looking for ways to make money from it.
“It creates a risk for us,” Niederhauser said.
While the woman appeared at the legislator’s hotel room, Vickers said she never once used his name, so she likely did not know who he was. Legislators who stay at the Little America Hotel are also dispersed throughout the building, he said, and not necessarily kept together.
“We don’t know if this was targeted or random,” Niederhauser said. “That’s why there’s an investigation.”
The Utah House of Representatives has also been notified of the incident, Niederhauser said, adding that legislators have been advised to travel in groups now and that security will be tightened.
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