Wesley Curtis

CEDAR CITY — A Southern Utah University vice president was among eight men authorities arrested Friday in a prostitution sting.

Wesley R. Curtis, 57, of Cedar City, was booked into the Iron County Jail on suspicion of patronizing a prostitute, a class B misdemeanor. Curtis works as the vice president for regional services and government relations. He has been a senior staff member at SUU for six years and has worked as a planning coordinator for two former governors.

"Given the charges filed against Wes Curtis, the university is placing him on paid administrative leave, per university policy. This leave is effective immediately and pending the outcome of an investigation into the alleged misconduct," SUU President Michael Benson said in a statement Saturday.

"We are concerned for Wes and his family and extend our love and support as the investigation continues."

Law enforcement agencies in Iron, Garfield and Beaver counties conducted a joint undercover operation at a local motel the past few days after learning people were searching the Internet to pay for sexual encounters, according to a news release.

The other seven men, all of whom live in Iron and Washington counties, also were arrested on suspicion of patronizing a prostitute and booked into jail. Some of them were found to be involved in other criminal activity and were referred to other agencies for further investigation, according to police.