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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Highway Patrol is reviewing allegations that Republican Rep. Chad Perkins had sex with a drunk 19 year old while on duty as a police officer in 2015.

Highway Patrol Capt. John Hotz confirmed to The Associated Press Thursday that the agency received a request for an investigation from the Pike County prosecutor. Perkins, 42, previously worked at the Bowling Green Police Department, which is in Pike County.

Hotz said the Highway Patrol is “currently conducting a preliminary inquiry.”

Frankford Police Chief Josh Baker went to the Highway Patrol, House speaker and other law enforcement last month with a package of evidence against Perkins after allegedly meeting pushback from the Pike County sheriff.

A spokesman for House Speaker Rob Vescovo said the Republican immediately turned over the documents to the House Ethics Committee, which investigates alleged misconduct

Perkins was elected to the state House in November. His law enforcement license is inactive, which means he hasn’t been working recently and can’t return to the job immediately.

Perkins didn’t immediately respond to Associated Press requests for comment Thursday, but he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the sex was consensual.

Perkins said the claims against him are “political sour grapes” over him not endorsing Baker’s wife in her bid for Pike County assessor last year.

“There’s nothing to that. Nothing ever happened while I was on duty,” he told the newspaper. “I live a single man lifestyle.”

In his letter last month to Vescovo, Baker said “political motivation did not make Officer Perkins sleep with a young intoxicated girl” that should have been “within his protection.”

The documents provided by Baker include a report from a former Pike County detective who received copies of messages between the teenager and Perkins anonymously in September 2019.

“The victim was an intoxicated young girl, the police officer on duty was a Bowling Green, Missouri police officer,” the detective wrote in an August 2020 email to a U.S. Department of Justice employee that was included in the report. “Instead of doing his job at the city park he decided to receive a sexual favor instead.”

According to records Baker sent to Vescovo, the teenager in a May 2015 message confronted Perkins about him sharing details about their relationship to another person, writing that: “I’m sure you left out the part where u were on duty and I was drunk.”

She had also asked if he could buy her alcohol and if he knew where to find Adderall in messages.

She later wrote about the possibility of having sex with him “again” in October 2017, to which he replied: “Yeah, Im good anytime.”

The detective said he asked Korte to investigate Perkins for possible sexual assault, but Korte brushed it off and cited Perkins’ campaign for the state House.

“We can’t prove any of this, Chad needs to win this it’s important and the girl is loose,” the detective claimed Korte said.

Associated Press requests for comment to Korte were not immediately returned Thursday.

The detective also allegedly raised concerns about Perkins to the FBI. Associated Press requests for comment to the agency were not immediately returned Thursday.

During his freshman year in the Legislature, Perkins voted in favor of a wide-ranging crime bill that included a provision that would make it a felony punishable by up to four years imprisonment for police to use coercion to have sex with someone while on duty.

The governor has not yet taken action on the bill

Summer Ballentine, The Associated Press