- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

BATESVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A southeastern Indiana mayor charged with patronizing a prostitute resigned Wednesday a day after the City Council threatened him with legal action.

Batesville Mayor Rick Fledderman, whose resignation took effect immediately, issued a statement saying he hopes the city can move on with new leadership.

“It is with great regret that I must step down as mayor of Batesville, a city that I have been privileged to serve for two decades. I am truly sorry for my actions and for the hurt I have caused my family and community as a result,” the statement said.

Council members in the city 60 miles southeast of Indianapolis said Tuesday that they were considering legal options if Fledderman did not step down.

The 60-year-old Fledderman, who was mayor for 12 years, was charged earlier this month. He’s accused of paying Randy Wigle-Stevens of Indianapolis $170 for a massage and oral sex. Wigle-Stevens told police that he was assaulted by Fledderman in June, but the mayor said the sex acts were consensual.

Wigle-Stevens has been charged with prostitution, intimidation and failure to disclose a dangerous communicable disease because he’s HIV positive, Indiana State Police have said.

City Council member Gene Lambert’s appointment as acting mayor is due to expire Thursday unless it is extended by a judge. The city is considering asking that the interim appointment continue until a Batesville Democratic caucus meets to select someone to fill out Fledderman’s term, which expires Dec. 31. Fledderman lost a May primary in a re-election bid.

“It is important to the City that all city business continue uninterrupted for the remainder of the Mayor’s term of office,” Lambert said in a statement. “Throughout this process, the City Council and I have been consulting with legal counsel to consider and pursue all legal options to ensure continuation of the City’s operations.”

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