MARTINSBURG, W.Va.—Four men, including a prominent Frederick, Md., attorney, were arrested in a prostitution sting Thursday afternoon at the Super 8 Martinsburg hotel, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records and police.
Roger Charles Simmons, 65, along with Brent Alan Chrisman, 40, of Inwood, W.Va., Jeffrey Marc Nievod, 29, of Reisterstown, Md., and Subbiah Venkatachalam, 44, of Downingtown, Pa., were each charged with one misdemeanor count of solicitation of prostitution, according to court records.
Police said Simmons identified himself as an attorney when he was arrested, but did not acknowledge any involvement when contacted by phone Friday at Gordon & Simmons LLC, the law firm he co-founded.
“I don’t know anything about it,” said Simmons, who declined further comment.
State police Cpl. J.M. Walker said he is “100 percent confident” the man he arrested is Simmons. A Church Hill Road, Myersville, Md., address is listed in court records as Simmons’ residential address, but state assessment and tax records indicate he does not own the property.
Police allege Simmons and the other three defendants allegedly responded to an adult escort advertisement on the Internet, but actually spoke with a confidential informant when they arranged to meet at the Super 8 by phone, according to court records.
The phone calls were monitored by troopers and members of the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, the records said.
Advertisements placed by police on several websites known locally to be used by prostitutes netted 20 phone calls within five hours, state police Sgt. J.D. Burkhart said in a news release.
Police expect to make more arrests in the coming weeks as suspects respond to the ads, Burkhart said.
Police said Simmons and Nievod of 312 Cockeys Mill Road both arrived at the hotel at 2048 Edwin Miller Blvd. about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, the documents said.
Both met individually with a confidential informant in a hotel room there, gave her $100 for sex and also demonstrated that they were not police officers by exposing themselves, the documents said. Officers then entered the room and arrested them.
Venkatachalam of 57 Lincoln Drive, arrived at the hotel about 4:15 p.m. and gave the informant $100 for sex and also demonstrated he was not a police officer before being arrested, the documents said.
Chrisman of 336 Franks Road arrived at the hotel about 5 p.m. and gave the informant $50 for sexual acts, the documents said.
According to Simmons’ biography on the law firm’s website, he had the opportunity to debate Ken Starr, who investigated President Clinton, on public court television; serve as co-counsel with O.J. Simpson’s attorney, Johnnie Cochran; and represented national television producers and newscasters and best-selling writers, including investigative journalists.
The occupations of the other three defendants could not be determined.