A grand jury indictment unsealed on Monday accuses Senate Minority Whip Nicholas Kettle of extorting sex from a page in 2011—the same year he rose to prominence as the youngest state Senator in Rhode Island.
According to the Providence Journal, 27-year-old Kettle allegedly used extortion to repeatedly have sex with a page, who is a man, twice during his first year in the General Assembly. Specifically, the indictment said that Kettle allegedly threatened to injure the page or damage his reputation if he did not comply. At the time, Kettle was 19 years old.
Senate President Dominick Ruggerio called for Kettle’s immediate resignation, and said that if he refuses, the Senate will pursue expulsion. Ruggerio also told the Los Angeles Times that an immediate review of the page program will be conducted by the Senate’s chief legal counsel.
Though police have been investigating Kettle since January, he has thus far refused to relinquish his seat, and in fact attended a session immediately ahead of his arrest. He pleaded not guilty on Monday, and was released on a $50,000 bond.
The alleged victim was 16 or 17-years-old when Kettle allegedly extorted him. (The age of consent in Rhode Island is 16.) According to a statement to the Times, a spokeswoman for the page said that,
“...he’s “spent the last seven years coming to terms with what was done to him” and is “moving on.” She said he’s now an executive in the music industry in Tennessee and is no longer affiliated with Rhode Island politics.”
Separately, Kettle is also charged with video voyeurism, allegedly having sent naked pictures of his then-girlfriend to a friend of his in New Hampshire.