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Ohio social worker accused of having sex with 13-year-old she was counseling

By CM Chaney · October 31, 2023

In brief…

  • Ohio social worker Payton Shires engaged and planning wedding before arrest for sex with teen client
  • Boasted of home, family accomplishments on social media before counseling job and scandal
  • Rearrested for showing up at victim's home with gun, threatening mom who reported her
  • Previously shared post condemning pedophiles; faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted
  • Investigation began after victim's mom found explicit texts/videos on his phone
An engaged Ohio social worker who boasted about her happy suburban life online has now been jailed twice after being accused of having sex with a 13-year-old client and threatening his mother with a gun for reporting her.  Columbus Police

An Ohio social worker arrested for allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old boy she was counseling had been engaged and planning her wedding before the scandal, The Daily Mail reported.

24-year-old Payton Shires was arrested in Columbus earlier this month after the victim’s mother found explicit texts and videos on his phone. Shires allegedly admitted to police she’d had sex with the boy at least twice in September.

Online posts show Shires had a three-year-old son with her fiancé of over two years. She boasted of buying a $225,000 home and achieving big milestones like getting engaged and having a child by age 21.

Other updates portrayed a happy suburban life with her young family. But that changed last month when the accusations emerged against Shires, who received her social work license in June.

She was assigned by her employer, the National Youth Advocate Program, to counsel the victim before the alleged sexual relationship began. The organization has since fired her.

Out on $50,000 bond after her initial arrest, Shires was rearrested Thursday for allegedly showing up at the victim’s home with a gun, threatening to kill his mother for “ruining her life” by reporting her.

Shires sobbed in court when read the new witness tampering charges, which could add ten years to her 6-18 month potential sentence for the sex crimes. She’s now jailed without bond.

Ironically, Shires had shared a post condemning pedophiles, saying “dead ones don’t reoffend.” Her social media has gone silent since her October 6 arrest.

Police began investigating after the concerned mother found texts and videos indicating an inappropriate relationship. The boy then described having sex with Shires twice in September.

Shires’ employer said it reported the situation to authorities and is cooperating with the investigation. Her cases remain ongoing.