BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A guilty plea by former University of Alabama VP Myron Pope on a misdemeanor charge of soliciting prostitution was set aside by a judge Monday after Pope paid fees and completed a “Johns Education and Awareness Program.”
The order dismissing the case, signed by District Judge James Gentry, comes less than two months after Pope and 14 other men were arrested by the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force for soliciting prostitution. The arrests were the result of a two-day undercover operation in Northport.
In court documents, police said Pope responded to a sex ad placed by an undercover officer, agreeing to a half-hour meeting at a price of $150.
“Mr. Pope arrived at the hotel and began to hug on the undercover officer,” a deposition in the case said. “He attempted to unclip her bra and kissed her on the forehead.”
According to the deposition, the undercover officer asked Pope what he wanted, to which he replied “we will just see where this goes.”
Pope was taken into custody, court records show, and was read his Miranda rights.
“Pope stated that he was there to talk, hug and kiss the female he met online,” the deposition said.
“If buyers were not seeking commercial sexual services, sex trafficking would no longer be profitable,” task force commander Capt. Phil Simpson said in a press release after the operation that led to Pope’s arrest. “We hope these operations targeting buyers show that we take this very seriously. Our goal is to prevent future exploitation of human trafficking victims who are forced or coerced into prostitution.”
Pope was booked into the Tuscaloosa County Jail and was released after posting a $1,000 bond. Authorities refused to release Pope’s mugshot, citing the Alabama Safe Harbor Act, which lawmakers intended to protect the mugshots of victims of sex trafficking.
Pope, who served as the Vice President of Student Life at the University of Alabama since April 2020, resigned from his position at the institution after his arrest.
UA President Stuart Bell announced Pope’s resignation in a news release.
“I have difficult news to share today,” Bell wrote in a press release. “Vice President of Student Life Myron Pope has resigned from the University following his arrest. We understand this news will be difficult for our community. I will appoint an interim Vice President of Student Life and that person, along with the many professionals in the division, will remain available to all of us. Please continue to take care of yourselves and one another.”
Pope “voluntarily and intelligently” plead guilty to the solicitation charge on March 2, but Judge Gentry ruled that the plea could be set aside — and Pope’s record left clean — if he paid a $100 fee, court costs, and completed a “John’s Class.”
Monday’s order dismissing Pope’s case was the result of that agreement. Judge Gentry wrote that Pope had paid the necessary fees and completed the class as required by the court.
CBS 42 reached out to Pope for comment but has not yet heard back.