Utah lawmakers fearing manufactured scandals after strange woman came to a senator’s hotel room and said ‘I’m your date’

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City

Utah legislators were put on high alert after a senator says an unknown woman knocked on the door of his Salt Lake City hotel room and told him she was his date for the night, the same day a news story reported that a House member, who resigned Tuesday, met with a prostitute twice last year.

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said he’s instructed lawmakers to be cautious, that there may be people seeking to “entrap” them in an apparent scandalous situation to make money off them.

Niederhauser said the incident is under investigation, and there were few details available. But lawmakers are clearly on edge in the days after the abrupt resignation of Rep. Jon Stanard, R-St. George, who the Daily Mail of London reported met a call girl twice in 2017 for sex.

“I’ve talked with all the senators,” Niederhauser said, “to let them know the situation and to be on high alert in their lives, on social media, questioning those who might have [malicious] intent to try to entrap us in a situation.”

Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, was staying at the Little America Hotel, where lawmakers from out of the region frequently stay during the legislative session. He was getting ready to go watch a University of Utah basketball game when the woman knocked on his door.

“She said, ‘I’m your date.’ I said, ‘No you’re not,’” Vickers said. “She said, ’Yes, I’m your date and we have reservations downtown.’”

He said he didn’t have any indication that the woman knew he was a legislator and that he closed the door on her.

“You could say I was shocked,” he said.

Lawmakers have authorized an investigation into the incident, including how the woman knew Vickers was staying in the room and whether she was hoping to entrap him. They’ll await findings before they decide next steps, which could include enhanced security for legislators, who are in session through March 8.

“I can’t believe that someone would stoop to that level to try to set up a lawmaker,” said House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville. “But it happened last night.”

Although he said he’s waiting for more information, Niederhauser repeatedly alluded to attempts to make money off legislators.

“When people can make money like this,” he told reporters, “it attracts people with [malicious] intent.”

He said there was no indication that a woman who calls herself Brie Taylor and told a United Kingdom news outlet she met Stanard twice last year for sex made money from the public exposure of the arrangement.

“Even indications of that could bring profit-seeking people with [malicious] intent to that conclusion that this would be a way to make some money.”