Congress

Rep. Brindisi fires aide charged with paying 17-year-old prostitute

John A. Stemen, a longtime aide to Rep. Anthony Brindisi, fired over prostitution charge

Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., represents one of the most closely contested swing districts in the country. His aide, John A. Stemen was charged with patronizing a prostitute who was 17 years old. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Anthony Brindisi has fired a longtime aide who was charged with patronizing a prostitute.

John A. Stemen, 57, had worked for Brindisi for eight years in a previous position before the freshman New York Democrat hired him in January as a caseworker in the 22nd District.

Stemen apparently admitted to state troopers that he agreed to pay $200 for a sexual date with a 17-year-old he met online, Syracuse.com reported. The count is a misdemeanor, and Stemen was issued a ticket Friday to appear in Utica City Court on May 20.

A spokeswoman for Brindisi told Syracuse.com that Stemen was fired Thursday after the congressman was made aware of the alleged situation.

When Brindisi was in the New York State Assembly in Albany, Stemen served as his director of community relations for eight years.

Brindisi defeated ex-Rep. Claudia Tenney by less than 2 points in the 2018 midterms, ousting one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest supporters in the House.

Brindisi’s margin of victory was within 5,000 votes, making his election one of the closest in the country. Tenney did not concede defeat until weeks after the election.

Tenney has not ruled out running against Brindisi in a 2020 rematch when Trump will also be on the ballot — a factor that could boost turnout among her base of supporters.

“I’ve had a lot of people approach me, especially here all over the community,” Tenney said in April on WUTQ-FM (100.7) in Utica, New York.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 2020 race for New York's 22nd District a Tossup.

Brindisi, who has the incumbent’s advantage of fundraising since he took office, has nearly $400,000 cash on hand after spending more than $4.5 million during the 2018 campaign.

 

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