published Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Prostitution case delayed for Thacker

News Sentinel Staff

KNOXVILLE — A Southeast Tennessee county mayor will spend six months on judicial diversion after his arrest during an undercover prostitution sting.

Knoxville police cited George Thacker, 48, of Spring City, Tenn., on a misdemeanor charge of patronizing prostitution May 6.

Thacker has served as Rhea County mayor since his election in 2010. He also has served as president of the Spring City, Tenn., Chamber of Commerce and has played at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, according to his campaign website.

The arrest happened during a prostitution sting when Thacker approached an undercover Knoxville Police Department officer near the corner of Tyson Street and Bernard Avenue around 9:30 p.m. and offered the officer $50 “for a sexual favor,” according to the citation. The area is in North Knoxville near the historic National Cemetery.

Thacker appeared briefly Friday in Knox County General Sessions Court with his lawyer, Jeff Hagood. He entered a best interest plea, which didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged enough evidence for conviction.

“George Thacker is a good man, regardless of what happened in this incident. George is a good man,” Hagood said.

“He wanted to have this matter resolved as expeditiously and as fairly as possible. I think that that occurred. He’s got to get back to doing his job, the community’s business,” Hagood said.

Thacker completed a court-ordered HIV test and must maintain a clean record until his next court appearance Nov. 9, when a judge could dismiss the charge.

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