COLUMBUS, Ohio – A social worker in Ohio was taken into custody and charged earlier this month for having sex with a 13-year-old male she was assigned to counsel. She subsequently posted bond and was released from custody. While out on bond she allegedly showed up at the teen’s home with a gun. Now she faces additional charges for reportedly trying to intimidate the boy’s family.
Payton Shires, 24, appeared before a judge last week and became emotional as the charges were read to her. Court records revealed a warrant was issued for her arrest on Oct. 26. She was arraigned Oct. 28 on felony charges of intimidating a witness by force or threat. ABC 6 News reported.
During the hearing, prosecutors said Shires showed up at the 13-year-old boy’s home with a gun. While at the residence she threatened to kill herself, and blamed the family for “ruining her life.”
As a result, the judge revoked Shires’s bond, meaning she will remain in custody at least until her next court appearance, which is scheduled for Nov. 6, reported Fox News.
Police said she was employed by the National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP), a group which specializes in counseling and social work with families involved in the foster-care system.
The allegations were first reported to police Sept. 27 by the teen’s mother after she discovered revealing text messages between her son and Shires, according to court documents.
Police discovered video on the boy’s phone of the teen and Shires engaging in sexual conduct. Detectives spoke with the boy, who reportedly admitted to having sex with Shires on multiple occasions in September 2023 at various locations in Columbus, according to court records,
During the investigation, detectives conducted a controlled, recorded, three-way phone call between the teen’s mother and Shires. During that call, Shires admitted to the teen’s mom that she had engaged in sexual conduct with him, court records revealed.
Shires was charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and her bond was set at $500,000 when she first appeared before Judge Mike McAllister in Franklin County Municipal Court, reported WSYX.
According to state records, Shires was licensed as a social worker in June.
Following her earlier arrest, NYAP released a brief statement as they made reference to one of their “former employees” without clarifying whether she resigned or was terminated, according to the New York Post.
“The National Youth Advocate Program is saddened by the situation involving one of our former employees and a young person served by our organization.’’