Alberta MLA arrested in Minnesota prostitution sting, resigns from caucus
EDMONTON -- An Alberta politician has resigned from the governing Progressive Conservative caucus after being arrested by Minnesota police in a prostitution sting.
Mike Allen, the member of the legislature for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, was arrested by St. Paul police Monday night.
Allen, 51, was in the city attending a midwestern legislative conference.
The story on the website of the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper reports that police allege Allen responded to an ad, met two female undercover officers and agreed to pay for sexual services.
Allen says in a statement that he takes full responsibility for his actions.
"I apologize to my family, friends, my constituents, my colleagues, my staff and to all Albertans for the embarrassment I have caused and for failing to live up to the standards expected of me and the standards I expect of myself," he said in the statement released Tuesday.
"I made this mistake of a profound lapse of personal judgment. It is my mistake, for which there is no excuse, and for which I accept full responsibility."
Allen has also resigned from all legislative committees he sits on, but will continue to serve in the legislature as an Independent.
"This is a deeply embarrassing moment and all I can say is I am sorry and humbly ask for forgiveness," he said. "I will work long and hard to regain the trust of the many I have let down."
Tory whip Steve Young said Allen called him Tuesday morning, told him about the arrest and offered his resignation. Young accepted it.
"It's our expectation that all our members of the legislative assembly conduct themselves with the highest ethical and moral standards and they should never be put into question," Young said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press.
"I think the events that happened in St. Paul through the arrest put (the standards) into question," he said.
"As a PC caucus we've dealt with that swiftly and Mike will have to deal with the consequences of that issue."
The official Opposition Wildrose party wants Allen to resign his seat.
"For an MLA to behave in this manner while travelling abroad on government business is unacceptable and he owes it to the people of Fort McMurray and all Albertans to immediately resign," Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said in a news release.
The St. Paul newspaper reported that Allen was one of 13 men nabbed in the sting. It quoted Sgt. Paul Paulos as saying officers regularly conduct undercover vice operations and, in this case, lured suspects through the ad.
An online document posted by the Ramsey County Sheriff Department confirmed Allen's arrest and listed a charge of engaging in prostitution. The sheriff's department said Allen was released Tuesday morning.
The Pioneer Press reported that the St. Paul city attorney's office said Allen had not been charged.
A watch commander with the St. Paul police explained the attorney's office has 36 hours after an arrest to lay formal charges.