BLOOMSBURG — The mayor is out.
Eric T. Bower, who stands accused of patronizing prostitutes, resigned his post effective immediately, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Thursday. The move comes as Bower waived his preliminary hearing on the charges.
“This mayor flouted the law and solicited sex from a prostitute on multiple occasions,” Shapiro said in a statement released to the media. “No one is above the law.”
Bower, a Democrat, was elected to lead the Columbia County town last year.
He was charged with patronizing prostitutes on April 20 after he allegedly solicited sex from a Pennsylvania State Police confidential informant.
Investigators allege Bower, 36, negotiated a fee for sex with the informant and arrived at the location with cash and condoms, where he was taken into custody by police.
The case was referred to the Office of Attorney General by Columbia County District Attorney Thomas E. Leipold, and will be prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony W. Forray.
In the wake of the allegations, Bower told WNEP-TV the situation was “a set-up,” and that the woman he visited was not a prostitute, but a friend with whom he had a casual relationship, and vowed to fight the charges.
The Associated Press reported that Bower’s attorney, Patrick O’Connell, said his client resigned for the good of Bloomsburg.
“The town of Bloomsburg needs to focus on the tasks that it needs to focus on, running an efficient local government, which is challenging enough. But these charges caused a circus environment. Eric Bower recognized that and for the better of the town, decided to resign,” O’Connell told the AP.
O’Connell declined comment on whether Bower still planned to contest the charges, the AP added.