From S-R staff writer Bill Morlin today:
A state legislator who yesterday insisted he was “not gay” was being blackmailed by a young man he had engaged in “sexual activities” with after the two met at a Spokane Valley adult bookstore last week, court documents filed today allege.
State Rep. Richard Curtis, a Republican from the Vancouver, Wash., area, met Cody Castagna at Hollywood Erotic Boutique on East Sprague Avenue at 12:45 a.m. Friday before the two went to Curtis’ room at the Davenport Tower in downtown Spokane, the documents say.
Castagna told investigators Curtis agreed to pay him $1,000 for sex, the documents allege.
No criminal charges have been filed in the case. Castagna, 26, has been questioned by police but not arrested.
The investigative file has been turned over to the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to decide if extortion charges should be filed against Castagna, police department public information officer Jennifer DeRuwe said today.
The police detective’s version of events is in stark contrast to the legislator’s only public comment. Curtis told the Vancouver Columbian yesterday that he is not gay and did not engage in sex with the man while he was in Spokane last week attending Republican strategy sessions.
Curtis and Castagna “engaged in mutual sexual activities” at the hotel after the state lawmaker – who has opposed most gay rights legislation – rented two XXX-rated gay videos, according to allegations in a search warrant affidavit filed by Spokane Police Detective Mark Burbridge.
After the sexual encounter in the Spokane hotel room, the court documents say Castagna left with Curtis’ wallet before contacting him by phone, demanding $1,000, the affidavit says.
The state lawmaker said he only had $200 and put that in an envelope for Castagna to pick up at the front desk of the Davenport Tower, the affidavit says.
After picking up that money, Castagna re-contacted Curtis and demanded the additional $800.
By that point, Curtis had contacted a Washington State Patrol sergeant in Vancouver, apparently seeking help. The State Patrol subsequently referred the matter to the Spokane Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit, which had detectives working over the weekend on the investigation.
“Castagna threatened to publicly expose Curtis’ gay lifestyle to his wife," if he wasn’t paid the additional sum," the court documents allege.