Workers in the sex trade have been in the news lately. First of all, we have heard a great deal about them as victims, as in the case of the so-called “Craig’s List Killer”. Some have been in trouble for things other than prostitution. For example, awhile ago, the Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog told you about an enterprising lass who had had a long-standing money-for-sex relationship with an older wealthy gentleman. When he decided to end what he called a “last hurrah”, she made a decision of her own – to blackmail him.
While it is my usual practice to give the first name, last initial and age of people who populate the judicial system, law enforcement and the courts have found it vital to give no information about the complainant involved in this matter. Therefore, I think it only fair to only refer to the young lady as the “Defendant”, with no other identifying information in this blog.
You may recall that the Defendant was given a lenient federal sentence in exchange for keeping her former customer’s name a secret. We will call him “John”. She had allegedly threatened to expose John unless he paid her money.
A great deal of money.
$280,000 of money.
No, there are no rights to palimony for prostitutes recognized in the Commonwealth.
60-year-old wealthy businessman John had met the Defendant through an escort service in the Yellow Pages. When the relationship soured into white collar crime, John began paying the Defendant as commanded, but she seemed to always want more. That was when he sought help from federal law enforcement, an agency not exactly known for “hooker hunting”.
They charged her with wire fraud.
Pursuant to a plea bargain, she was sentenced to a period of probation.
The probation has not gone so well. She has had to return to United States District Court admitting to violating terms of her probationary sentence.
The Defendant had been under house arrest pursuant to the February plea agreement. She also agreed to keep John’s identity secret for three years as part of a sentence that allowed her to avoid jail time. She is required to wear a GPS anklet.
And therein lies the….rub.
Probation officials say there have been gaps in time where they can’t account for her whereabouts. They say they have written her up twice for a phone that was unplugged and a job opportunity she skipped out on.
In March, probation complained to the court that the phone keeping tabs on Robinson’s GPS anklet had been unplugged twice and they could not account for her whereabouts for hours.
Last month, probation reported the Defendant blew off the job selling makeup for a Norwood company. When she missed her 7 p.m. curfew on April 3, she allegedly told probation she had to drive to Norwood to drop off that day’s unsold product. The manager of the company, however, told probation he’d fired her that day for not showing up for work.
She has now been ordered to report to a halfway house where she must stay until Aug. 18th, the court has ruled.
After a tongue lashing by the court, the Defendant is said to have responded with, “Sorry.”
Attorney Sam’s take:
We all know that prostitution is still considered a crime in the Commonwealth. Police departments often make the headlines proudly announcing some magnificently planned sting operation wherein they tricked either a woman to offer her services for money or a man to offer an attractive female, who seems to be flaunting the fact that she is open for business money for sex.
For some reason, we don’t hear anything about male prostitutes or their clientele. They must not exist here.
In any event, it is no secret that the sex trade, while perhaps among the oldest of professions, is not the safest. Particularly given the legal status quo, said workers seem to be open prey from many corners of society…be it law enforcement or other problematic sectors of our society.
In the instant case, however, the issue of prostitution is not the real issue. The same is true with the Craig’s List Killer, with whom we will deal more thoroughly on Friday. In the instant case, the Defendant got greedy. We can criticize the courts for overlooking John’s being…well, a john…which is also illegal and nowadays prosecuted. However, extortion is considered a heavier crime that prostitution by most rationale folks.
Given the legal status quo, it is a dangerous thing to try to “play games” or otherwise engage in the sex-for-money trade. As a customer, particularly if one is high profile or has a career or marriage which can end if exposed, lives can be ruined. As a worker, there is risk from all quarters.
If you feel there is an ongoing investigation or that you may be facing prosecution in these types of matters, you need to contact experienced defense counsel as soon as possible. While you may think that these laws are straight forward, there are many considerations which can change things as with any kind of case in the legal system.
For example, what if your partner in crime, worker or customer, suddenly indicates that they would be willing to tell law enforcement about a more serious crime in exchange for a deal? Generally, this will be revealed to you long after you are fitted for the Commonwealth’s bracelets of shame.
As announced yesterday, we will continue with this theme through the week.
Tomorrow, we will have our weekly Thursday posting about an issue facing people in the criminal justice system…to wit: the sex trade and its prosecution. Friday, we will deal more directly with Craig’s List’s most recent claim to fatal fame.
The full articles of this story can be found at http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1169414 and http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1169043