The husband of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow told authorities that he used the Internet to arrange a $150 sexual tryst with a prostitute at a metropolitan Detroit hotel, police said Wednesday.
Thomas Athans, 46, co-founder of the liberal TalkUSA Radio network, was stopped by police who were investigating prostitution at the hotel, according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press.
Athans, in a statement issued by his attorney, apologized and said he "fully cooperated with law enforcement. My family and I are dealing with this matter in a personal and private way."
Stabenow, D-Mich., said in an interview with The AP that she wanted "folks to know that I'm grateful for their prayers and support and this is a family matter that is very difficult but we are going to work through it."
"I think it's important to continue to do my job and to focus on people in Michigan who are hurting everyday and expect that I'm going to fight for them everyday," she said.
The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News first reported on the case in stories on their Web sites Wednesday.
Caught by stakeout
Troy police had set up a stakeout at the Residence Inn after learning of suspected prostitution at a room there, the police report said. Officers said they saw Athans enter the room Feb. 26 and leave 15 minutes later.
They stopped Athans' car and informed him they were investigating prostitution. He told the officers he had used the Internet to make a date with a prostitute and paid her $150 for oral sex at the motel, the report said.
Police did not bring any sex charges against Athans but later mailed him a ticket for driving with a suspended license.
Athans' license was suspended last year for failure to pay a ticket for driving without proof of insurance, according to the Michigan Department of State. Court records show he paid a $115 fine, and the state restored his license March 11.
Athans was cooperative and "didn't drop any names or ask for preferential treatment," said department spokesman Lt. Gerry Scherlinck.
Police said they arrested Alycia Martin, 20, of Westland in the hotel room on a charge of prostitution. She was arraigned March 12 and freed on $100 bail pending a hearing on April 22.
There is no telephone listing for her in Westland and she did not have an attorney of record on Wednesday.
Stabenow and Athans married in February 2003. Athans, an Air Force veteran, worked as an aide in Stabenow's Detroit office before their engagement and marriage and also worked for Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich.
Athans started TalkUSA Radio in 2006 after leading programming at Air America, the liberal network that declared bankruptcy that year.
Stabenow, 57, has two adult children from her first marriage to Dennis Stabenow. The couple divorced in 1990.