Washington state Republican lawmaker resigns amid gay sex scandal

OLYMPIA, Washington (AP) -

A Republican state legislator resigned last Wednesday amid revelations that he had sex with a man he met at a pornographic video store while in Spokane on a party retreat.

The move comes days after state Rep. Richard Curtis insisted to his local newspaper that he was not gay and that sex was not involved in what he said was an extortion attempt by a man last week.

But in police reports, Curtis alleges he was being extorted by a man he had sex with in a Spokane hotel room. The other man contends Curtis reneged on a promise to pay $1,000 for sex.

A Republican successor will be chosen by county Republican leaders, and will serve until the 2008 election.

Curtis, 48, told police he was the victim of an extortion attempt by Cody Castagna at the posh Davenport Tower hotel on Oct. 26, search warrant documents said. Castagna, 26, told police that Curtis had agreed to pay him for sex, then reneged.

Curtis is married and has children, according to his legislative Web site. Elected to the state House of Representatives in 2004, he voted in 2005 and 2006 against a bill that granted civil rights protections to gays and lesbians, and in 2007 voted against a bill that created domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Both measures eventually passed the Democratic-controlled state Legislature and are now state law.

Curtis was among state Republican lawmakers in Spokane Oct. 24-26 for a retreat to discuss the upcoming legislative session. He went to the Hollywood Erotic Boutique early on Oct. 26 and met Castagna, who accompanied him to the hotel, police documents said.

The two arrived at the hotel around 3:30 a.m. and had sex, after which Curtis fell asleep, according to documents released Tuesday.

Curtis alleged Castagna took his wallet and later offered to return it for $1,000 . Curtis said he only had $200 (euro138) and left an envelope with the money at the hotel desk, the documents said.

Police reports said Castagna allegedly called Curtis and demanded an additional $800, and threatened to expose Curtis. But Curtis had already contacted police, who listened to the call and then met with Castagna.

There have been no arrests in the case.

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