State Rep. David Stringer Resigns

Former State Representative calls a trip to a playground and ice cream as “just part of the experience” of child sexual abuse

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Less than a week after resigning, former State Rep. David Stringer’s comments regarding sexual abuse of children and sex trafficking have emerged.

Stringer was elected in 2017 to represent Legislative District 1, which includes Yavapai County and Prescott. He has faced a string of accusations and investigations into his past regarding his criminal record, his sexual offenses towards minors and comments on topics from immigration to child trafficking.

According to AZCentral, at a meeting for Republican Women of Prescott in 2018, Stringer said “I don’t like to demonize it,” in regards to sex trafficking. Stringer said in response to a comment from Merissa Hamilton, a human trafficking activist, “If an uncle takes his niece or nephew to a playground, and they go on the merry-go-round and have some ice cream, and then do their thing, that’s just part of the experience.”

Stringer is no stranger to controversy. Prior to his recent comments, Stringer’s criminal record from 1983 was uncovered by the Phoenix New Times. In their initial article, no details other than the charges were listed because Maryland allows for expungement of records in special circumstances. The details of his 1983 charges were released anyway, with AZFamily reporting that Stringer solicited two 15-year-old boys for sex, offering $10 each and showering with another boy on a separate occasion.

Gov. Ducey said on Twitter that the reports are “disgusting and deeply disturbing,” and that “these revelations are far worse than anything we were aware of before. Someone capable of these acts has no place at this capitol.”

After his resignation, former State Sen. Steve Pierce was chosen by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors and will finish Stringer’s term, which ends in 2020. Gov. Doug Ducey congratulated Rep. Pierce, saying he was “looking forward to working together for Arizona,” on Twitter.