Police have arrested a woman they say engaged in sexual conduct with a 13-year-old she was counseling, news outlets report.
Payton Shires, 24, is charged with one count of sexual conduct with a minor, according to court records.
McClatchy News reached out to an attorney representing Shires but did not immediately receive a response.
The alleged incidents happened in September, just months after Shires received her social work license in June, records show.
Shires was working as a social worker when she was assigned to provide counseling to a 13-year-old boy, police said, according to WBNS.
The boy’s mom told police she saw text messages between him and Shires. Court records say that in the texts, Shires asked the boy if he deleted videos and if his mom had seen the videos or their messages, WCMH reported.
After reading the texts, the mother was concerned. She gave the phone to investigators, and when they searched it, they say they found a video of Shires and the boy engaging in sex acts, WSYX reported. Police say the boy told them they had engaged in sex acts at least twice.
On a call with investigators and the boy’s mom, police say Shires admitted to engaging in sexual acts with the boy, according to WBNS.
Police say Shires was formerly employed with the National Youth Advocate Program, WCMH reported. McClatchy News reached out to the organization but did not immediately hear back.
The NYAP told WSYX that it is cooperating with investigators but, for confidentiality reasons, said it could not share when Shires stopped working for the organization.
“Protecting children is everyone’s responsibility. The National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) is saddened by the situation involving one of our former employees and a young person served by our organization. NYAP has reported the situation to Franklin County Children Services (FCCS) and is collaborating with them and the Columbus Police Department on this case,” the company said in a statement, according to the TV station.
Shires was booked into the Franklin County Jail Oct. 6 and given a $500,085 bond, court records show. She is set to appear in court Oct. 16.
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