Columbia officer charged with prostitution

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A 32-year-old Columbia school resource officer is charged with paying a 17-year-old for sex.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says Mark Cornish was arrested Friday for prostitution after his agency received a tip that a uniformed officer entered a motel room with a known prostitute.

Lott says the officer fled in his patrol car when deputies arrived. The teen inside was charged with prostitution. Lott says Cornish was found a few blocks away.

Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott says Cornish has been put on unpaid administrative leave. He says Cornish was not on duty at the time. Cornish is a school resource officer at W.A. Perry Middle School and has been with the department since 2009.

Cornish remained in jail Saturday morning. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

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