A highly acclaimed University of Georgia German professor was arrested Thursday for prostituting himself for $60, authorities said.
Max Reinhart, 65, was charged with prostitution, according to Gwinnett County police.
“This charge is not exactly what it appears, OK. I can only say that,” Reinhart told Channel 2 Action News at his Athens home. He also said, “I’m embarrassed. I’m feeling very stupid.”
The investigation began when Gwinnett County police detectives found an advertisement for a individual named “Sasha” in the transexual services section of the website backpage.com, police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said.
Detectives arranged to meet “Sasha” on Thursday at the Guest House Inn near Norcross, and found the room had been rented by Reinhart, Smith said. An undercover investigator met with Reinhart/”Sasha” and negotiated a charge of $60 for half an hour of “services.”
Reinhart then was arrested, police said. He was booked into the Gwinnett Detention Center just after 12:30 p.m. Thursday and released around 9:15 p.m. on $4,800 bond, according to jail records.
It was unclear Friday how the arrest would affect Reinhart’s teaching position. He has taught at UGA since 1988 and has held tenure there since 1994.
“I am deeply remorseful for anything I may have done to bring any kind of doubt to the integrity of the university and myself,” Reinhart told Channel 2.
UGA spokesman Tom Jackson said any university employee who is arrested must report that arrest to the school’s Office of Legal Affairs.
“The office reviews the case and recommends any of a full range of actions,” Jackson said. “We will take the appropriate action.”
Reinhart teaches German literature and history, particularly the work of 18th century writer, poet and artist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and his salary is $87,224 per year, UGA officials said.
The University had just completed its May term last week — for which officials said Reinhart earned an additional $8,000 — and he was not scheduled to teach again before fall.
Police said Reinhart also was charged with keeping a house of prostitution because he rented the hotel room for that purpose.