State senator has trial set on prostitution charge

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia state Sen. Mike Maroney is set to go on trial in April on charges that he solicited a prostitute, officials said Friday.

A Marshall County court clerk said the Republican lawmaker had his jury trial scheduled for April 14 following a brief pretrial hearing Friday.

Maroney exchanged text messages to discuss prices and arrange meetings with a woman who has acknowledged being a prostitute, according to a criminal complaint. He also sent her a picture of himself smiling along with a message reading “now can I stop by” after she said she wouldn’t meet without a photo of him.

Police had been investigating the woman and say she has told police she became a prostitute so she could buy heroin, according to the complaint.

Maroney pleaded not guilty, turned himself in in August and was released on a $4,500 bond. His attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.

After the charges emerged, Republican Senate President Mitch Carmichael issued a statement calling the allegations “deeply disturbing.” The chairwoman of the state Democratic party, Belinda Biafore, has called for Maroney to be removed from the Senate.

Maroney, who represents Marshall County, has still been active at the statehouse this legislative session. He is the chairman of the Senate committee on health and human resources.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.