Salisbury — Former state legislator Coy C. Privette – a Cabarrus County commissioner, retired Baptist minister and president of the Christian Action League of North Carolina – was charged Thursday with soliciting prostitution, authorities said.
Privette, 74, of Kannapolis, was charged with six counts of misdemeanor aiding and abetting prostitution by renting a hotel room and paying for sexual acts, according to State Bureau of Investigation Agent Kevin Canty.
Tiffany Denise Summers, 32, of Salisbury, was charged with six counts of prostitution, Canty said.
On Thursday, the Christian Action League board of directors suspended Privette, pending the outcome of the investigation. The organization represents the Christian groups' interests in the General Assembly.
"If these allegations are true, then I'm absolutely broken-hearted and extremely disappointed," said Mark Creech, executive director the Christian Action League.
Privette was the group's president the past six years. Before that, he served as its executive director for 15 years. Creech said he considers Privette a mentor and a friend.
"It's hard, it's hard. But I still want to hear from Mr. Privette," Creech said.
Russell Capps is a former state lawmaker who said he has known Privette for 20 years. Capps called the allegations linking Privette to a prostitute completely out of character.
"Please tell me it's not so," he said. "Of all the people that I know, it's hard to believe about him."
Privette is one of the state's most vocal opponents to the lottery and to alcohol sales, often making his points in the halls of the General Assembly. Creech said he's hopeful the Christian Action League's credibility will not take a hit among lawmakers.
"Mr. Privette's moral failures, if that's true, doesn't represent the entire Christian Action League," he said.
Privette hasn't returned his repeated phone calls, Creech said, adding that no one should rush to judgment until all the facts are heard.
Privette is due in court next month to face the prostitution charges. He appeared at the Rowan County magistrate's office in Salisbury after his arrest. He was released on a written promise to appear in court Aug. 22.
Police said a forged check case led investigators to the prostitution charges.
The Kannapolis Police Department and the SBI continue to investigate the case.