ST. GEORGE — An officer with the Iron County Republican Party has resigned after he was criminally charged in a St. George prostitution sting.
St. George police say Blake Cozzens, 28, of Cedar City, responded to an online ad and arranged to pay for sex acts via text message with someone working with officers and posing as a sex worker.
Cozzens, the treasurer and former chairman of the Iron County GOP, was one of five men arrested and charged in the sting.
Iron County GOP Chairman Andrew Young said Cozzens resigned from his unpaid post Wednesday afternoon. Party leaders learned of the allegations about the same time.
Cozzens was charged Tuesday with one count of patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor, and booked into Washington County Jail. He posted bail, which was set at $1,950.
On Monday evening, he gave the police informant $100 when they met in St. George, according to a probable cause statement.
"Investigators entered the room and placed Blake under arrest," the statement reads.2 comments on this story
A number listed for Cozzens on the party website rang unanswered Wednesday and he did not immediately return an email. It was not clear if he had an attorney.
Cozzens is a familiar face in Utah politics. He has defended Utah's caucus-convention system for choosing political party nominees as an organizer with Protect Our Neighborhood Elections. He unsuccessfully challenged state Rep. John Westwood, a Cedar City Republican, in 2014.
If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.