June 9, 2012— -- A renowned University of Georgia professor was snared in a prostitution sting by Gwinnett County police Thursday.
After contacting German literature professor Max Reinhart, 65, using a phone number he listed in the transsexual escort section of Backpage.com, detectives arranged to meet him at a room he rented at a Norcross, Ga., GuestHouse Inn. An undercover detective entered the room, discussed the services Reinhart was to provide, and agreed to pay $60 for half an hour's worth, said Cpl. Jake Smith, a Gwinnett County Police Department spokesman.
Once the money changed hands, police officers placed Reinhart, who was going by the name "Sasha," under arrest for prostitution and keeping a house of prostitution, Smith said. Reinhart faces up to a year in jail for both charges.
After being held for nearly nine hours, Reinhart was released Thursday night on a $4,800 bond. He will be tried at Gwinnett County Magistrate Court in Lawrenceville, Ga.
UGA spokesman Tom Jackson said Reinhart, who has taught in the university's Germanic and Slavic Studies department since 1988 and held tenure since 1994, will have to report the arrest to the Athens, Ga., school, but it is not yet clear what disciplinary action, if any, will be taken against him.
"In my 24 years representing the university, this is definitely a first," Jackson said.
An expert on early modern Germany, Reinhart is the author or editor of eight books, the UGA student newspaper reported Friday. He is currently scheduled to teach a new course in the fall on the relationship between Islam and the work of the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, according to the Germanic and Slavic Studies department website.
Reinhart could not be reached for comment Friday.