A senior Florida Republican has been escaped a custodial sentence after being found guilty of soliciting oral sex from an undercover police officer.

Bob Allen, a state representative and former co-chairman of the campaign to select Senator John McCain as the Republican US Presidential candidate, was spotted by police in Titusville, Florida on July 11th acting suspiciously at the men’s toilets in a park.

Officers decided to send a policeman undercover to investigate, and within minutes Mr Allen agreed to pay him $20 (£10) to allow him to perform oral sex.

Allen was facing 60 days in jail, but instead was given six month’s probation and fined $250 (£122) plus $245 costs, ordered never to return to the park where the incident happened, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and attend a HIV awareness class.

Republican party representatives said last week he should resign from office.

Mr Allen said he will ask for a re-trial.

He resigned from the McCain campaign when he was arrested but maintained he is innocent and said he will not resign from the state legislature.

Mr Allen told police that he was not loitering in the public toilet looking for sex.

The undercover police officer gave evidence that Mr Allen twice peered over the top of a toilet cubicle he was occupying, then entered the cubicle.

They discussed payment for oral sex, but Mr Allen was concerned the park toilet was too public.

As Mr Allen then indicated to the police officer to follow him outside to his car, he was arrested.

He later tried to claim that he only offered the black undercover officer money because he feared he would be mugged.

“This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park,” he said in a taped statement, and added that he was worried he would “become another statistic,” meaning that he was concerned he would be assaulted.

Representative Allen had sponsored a failed bill in the Florida statehouse earlier this year, the Lewdness and Indecent Exposure Bill, designed to increase the penalties for committing “unnatural and lascivious acts or exposure or exhibition of sexual organs committed within specified distance of certain locations.”

Since his election in 2000, he has been one of the most homophobic politicians in the Florida state senate.

He received the title of “Wicked Witch,” which is reserved for “The Worst of the Worst,” from Florida’s Rainbow Democratic Gay Lesbian organisation.

According to the biographical information provided on the Florida House of Representatives website, he is 48 and married with one child.