COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Columbus SWAT team arrested an area social worker on Friday just months after she got her license to practice.
Payton Shires, 24, of Mount Sterling, faces a felony charge of sexual conduct with a minor. Franklin County Municipal Court records accused her of having sex with a 13-year-old Columbus boy for whom she was assigned to provide mental health counseling services.
Shires appeared in Franklin County Municipal Court on Saturday, where the judge issued a $500,000 cash, surety or appearance bond, according to online court records. Should Shires post bond, she is prohibited from having any contact with the alleged victim and cannot have any unsupervised contact with any minors.
Columbus police first got involved when the teen’s mother called them to report text messages she found between him and Shires. The social worker had asked the 13-year-old if he deleted videos, and if his mother had seen them or messages between them, a detective wrote in a criminal complaint document.
The mother gave her son’s phone to the Columbus Division of Police as evidence. After getting a warrant, investigators found a video of Shires engaging in sexual acts with the teen on the device. The criminal complaint said CPD then joined the mother for a phone call with Shires, where she admitted to participating in multiple sexual acts with the 13-year-old.
The Columbus SWAT team took Shires into custody without incident. CPD said prosecutors may add more charges later on. Shires is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 16.
State records confirmed that Shires received her social work license in June, but did not share any details regarding a possible suspension or forfeiture as of Friday evening. Columbus police said she was formerly employed with the National Youth Advocate Program, but did not say if she was terminated as a result of the investigation or before it started.