RI State Senator, 27, Charged With Extorting Sex

Nicholas Kettle has pleaded not guilty
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 19, 2018 2:13 PM CST
Rhode Island Senate Minority Whip Nicholas Kettle, appears in Superior Court in Providence on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018.   (Steve Szydlowski/Providence Journal via AP)

(Newser) – A grand jury indictment unsealed Monday accuses a Republican state senator of extorting sex from a page in the Senate's page program. The indictment was unsealed as Senate Minority Whip Nicholas Kettle was arraigned on two counts of extortion in Providence Superior Court. Kettle, of Coventry, is accused of extorting a male page for sex multiple times. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $50,000 personal recognizance. The news prompted Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio to again call for Kettle to resign immediately. He said he was "horrified and disgusted by these allegations." If Kettle refuses to step down, the Senate will pursue his expulsion, Ruggerio said. He said he also asked the Senate's chief legal counsel to conduct an immediate review of the page program, per the AP.

Kettle, who's 27 years old, was indicted last week, but the details of the extortion counts remained sealed over the weekend. State police separately charged Kettle with video voyeurism, accusing him of sending pictures of his ex-girlfriend's "private parts." The indictment says Kettle extorted the page into sex on two occasions in 2011. The page's LinkedIn profile says he served as a page from February 2011 to May 2012. Kettle, who's among five Republicans in the 38-member Senate, did not speak to reporters outside court and did not comment on whether he would resign, but his lawyer described the page as a political rival of Kettle's. State elections records show the page ran against Kettle as an independent in 2014, three years after the extortion is alleged to have occurred.

(Read more Rhode Island stories.)

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