Payton Shires, a 24-year-old Ohio social worker, is facing multiple charges, including unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and making death threats, after her alleged involvement with a 13-year-old boy she was responsible for. The case has sent shockwaves through the community and raises concerns about the safety of children under the care of social workers.
Shires was initially charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor on October 6 after she reportedly admitted to her inappropriate behavior during a call with the boy’s mother and Columbus detectives. The charges stem from an investigation launched when the child’s mother reported suspicious text messages exchanged between her son and Shires on September 27.
The investigation took a distressing turn when Shires appeared at the boy’s home on Thursday, around 5:30 p.m., while armed with a gun. The child’s mother was not at home but became aware of Shires’ presence through her doorbell camera. When police arrived, they discovered Shires with the gun pointed at her own head, holding her finger on the trigger, and making threats to kill herself. She also reportedly threatened the child’s mother.
Shires has now been hit with additional charges of intimidation of a crime victim and intimidation of a crime witness in connection with these threats. Her actions have raised concerns about the well-being of children in the care of social workers and the vulnerability of both the children and their families.
Before her arrest, Shires had worked for the National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP), an organization dedicated to helping families involved in the foster care system. It is not yet clear whether she was assigned to the boy through NYAP, but this incident has underscored the importance of careful oversight and background checks for professionals in positions of trust, particularly when dealing with vulnerable children.
The boy involved in the case reportedly admitted to investigators that he had engaged in sexual relations with Shires on at least two occasions in September. Shires had been initially held on a $500,000 bond, which she posted on October 12, but this bond has since been revoked. She will remain in custody until her next court appearance, scheduled for November 6.
🚨🚨Breaking: Social worker, Payton Shires, 24, who previously worked for The National Youth Advocate Program, has admitted to having sex with her 13 year old client on multiple occasions.
Shires has been charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. pic.twitter.com/FSgfHpPajl
— Will (@WillSaveTheKids) October 8, 2023
24 year old social worker Payton Shires of Mount Sterling Ohio has been charged with sexually abusing a 13 year old boy, and threatened to kill his mother after showing up to their home with a gun.https://t.co/2W1jfbivLV
— 8-ʙɪᴛ™ (@The8BitIdiot) October 30, 2023