The Mayor of Front Royal, Virginia, was indicted by a Warren County grand jury on one misdemeanor count of solicitation of sexual conduct Monday.
According to the Virginia State Police, Hollis L. Tharpe, 67 appeared in Warren County Circuit Court to face charges.
Hours before the indictment, Tharpe voluntarily placed himself on administrative leave without pay. When WDVM reached out to Tharpe, he said he had been advised by his attorney to make no comments at this time.
Vice Mayor William Sealock will act as mayor until the charges are resolved. Town Attorney Doug Napier believes this should not have a significant impact on how the town council operates.
“The only potential possibility would be if there is a tie vote, we no longer have a tiebreaker,” said Napier.
The charge stems from an investigation initiated in October 2018 by the Virginia State Police at the direction of the Office of the Attorney General.
The incident remains under investigation. Tharpe was released by a magistrate on his own recognizance, police said.
Tharpe’s indictment comes at a time when the town faces public criticism regarding the Economic Development Authority investigation.
“I think town council is pretty much one mind as to what they want to do with respect to the EDA, so I don’t really expect it to have a substantial effect on that,” said Napier.
Tharpe is due back in court on June 17.