Columbus Police pressed charges against Payton Shires for participating in illegal sexual activities with a minor, prompted by the boy's mother, who grew suspicious of her "predatory behavior" upon discovering incriminating text messages on her phone.
Following a "bust" during a three-way phone call involving the police and the boy's mother, a 24-year-old school counselor reportedly admitted to engaging in sexual activity with the 13-year-old.
Upon receiving a complaint from the concerned mother in September, Ohio detectives discovered a disturbing video depicting Payton Shires engaged in sexual activity with the boy.
As reported by ABC6, Shires, a resident of Mount Sterling, Ohio, faced accusations from Columbus Police officers regarding her involvement in unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
The boy's mother grew concerned about Shires' potential predatory behavior when she came across text messages between the certified counselor and her son on his phone.
The 24-year-old was providing counseling services to the teenager.
Concerned by a message from Shires inquiring about deleted videos and potential viewers, the mother contacted the police on September 27, as documented.
According to the boy's statement, he and Shires engaged in sexual activity on multiple occasions in different Columbus locations.
During a three-way call orchestrated by the police, Shires purportedly confessed to having a sexual relationship. This call included the mother, detectives, and Shires.
Shires was apprehended, and law enforcement indicated the possibility of filing further charges against her in the coming days.
A police mugshot portrays Shires, who is white, with blue eyes and blonde hair she dyed.
Based on state records, she acquired her counseling license on June 12, 2023. Prior to this, she had been employed at the National Youth Advocate Program.
The organization, dedicated to assisting individuals with children in the foster care system or requiring advocacy, declined to disclose reasons for her departure, citing privacy issues. Her departure is now under examination in light of the ongoing police investigation.
Representatives of the program released a statement, stating,
"Protecting children is everyone's responsibility."
"The National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) is saddened by the situation involving one of our former employees and a young person served by our organization."
"NYAP has reported the situation to Franklin County Children Services (FCCS) and is collaborating with them and the Columbus Police Department on this case."
Shires appeared in court on Friday, where Judge Mike McAllister from the Franklin County Corrections Center set her bond at $500,000.
As the legal proceedings unfold, the community is vigilantly following the case, hoping for a fair resolution that prioritizes the safety and well-being of their children.