Lenora Ivie Frago
Last week, social media flooded with outrage over the acquittal of Ezekiel Gilbert for the murder of Lenora Ivie Frago. On December 24, 2009, Gilbert and Frago met via Craigslist and agreed that he would pay her $150 for her time as a companion. Time, Gilbert argued, that was supposed to include sex. Frago left without having sex with him, fee in hand. Gilbert then decided that her fee was now stolen goods and shot her to reclaim his property. Frago later died due to her injuries and Gilbert was charged with murder. A Bexar County jury acquitted him, leading the sex worker community and people with general good sense to ask: how in the hell did this happen?
Jury trials are, in theory, supposed to be fairer than bench trials as they are decided by a panel of people who bring a variety of life experiences and thoughts to the table. Both sides of have the chance to weed out a few jurors who they think have too much bias during jury selection, but there is simply no way to weed out all jurors with bias. There is also no way to ensure jurors are actually listening to testimony or understand the law. I’ve seen trials where jurors literally fell asleep and then went off to a small room to decide the fate of another human being.
In this case, prosecutors needed to convince these twelve people that Gilbert had committed the act of murder according to the state’s definition. If the facts did show that Gilbert committed murder, there was still a way to find him not guilty: his attorneys could show that he had a plausible affirmative defense. An affirmative defense is a defense that argues the defendant’s actions may meet the elements of the crime, but his actions had good (and legal) reason behind them. [READ MORE]
(Photo by the Edinburgh Eye)
Last week in Cleveland, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry escaped from Ariel Castro’s “house of horrors” where he imprisoned the women in a nightmare of rape and torture for almost a decade. Castro has been arraigned on four charges of kidnapping and three charges of rape. The courageous women escaped with the help of Charles Ramsey, a neighbor who broke into the home after hearing Berry’s screams. A charismatic man, Ramsey became an instant celebrity after declaring he knew “something was wrong” when he saw that a “pretty little white girl ran into the arms of a black man.”
Everything about the Cleveland kidnapping case—from Ramsey’s critique of race to the captive women’s histories of abuse—has stirred important conversations about domestic abuse, sexual abuse, police incompetence, and race. Unsurprisingly, for those of us who follow trafficking hysteria, it’s also inspired a lot of talk about sex trafficking.
An author has posted an ad on Craigslist seeking a young woman to have sex with him and keep a diary about it for a month, after which he’ll write a book about the experience and self-publish it on Amazon. Literary experimentation for our times? Product of reading too much Henry Miller? Really complicated scam to get a young fuckbuddy for a month? Sugardaddy who’s low on sugar? What the FUCK is really going on here and who is the kind of person who gets on board with this?
The book will detail every aspect of a mutually-agreed to romantic affair between myself and a young FEMALE lover (perhaps you), experienced over 30 days, as in the novel. The difference between the first book and this one will be verite: everything in this new volume will be the truth as both participants see it. If you agree to participate in this project, you will keep a diary of all of your thoughts, impressions and memories of the thirty day affair that we will share. I will then combine your written thoughts with my own to present the reader with two versions of the same erotic story. One love affair, as seen separately by the man and woman.
In case it gets taken down, here’s the screenshot below. We encourage someone to write in and apply to get the free copy of his first book!
Former porn star Coco Brown is training to be an astronaut. And no, journalists, it is not so she can have sex in space.
In “Thank God” news, a Washington judge permanently blocked a three-time felon and current inmate’s request for personal information attached to the licenses of over 200 area strippers. The inmate described himself as a “an advocate for the industry” who needed the info in order to make the women famous through his use of social media. Yeah, Asshole, that’s exactly what a lot of sex worker stalkers want to do: out them to the world, permanently, online.
Atlanta is working to ban prostitutes and their clients from areas of city once they’ve been convicted of multiple arrests. Georgia’s Supreme Court has a history of allowing such bans if they’re “reasonable, or aimed at rehabilitation.”
The recent arrest of Kink.com CEO Peter Acworth has reignited controversy over the way his business is run. (It’s not the first time the issue has come up.)
Sasha Grey on why she left porn: “I just knew that it wasn’t a smart business decision to keep working for other people.”
The independent contractor vs. employee battle continues to be waged in strip clubs across the country with a Kansas court providing the most recent landmark of ruling that strippers are entitled to unemployment insurance. The strip club will not appeal.
Also in Kansas, police are trying to find the man responsible for the murder of at least two prostitutes and the attempted murder of a third.
Transgender Day of Remembrance was this past Tuesday, the 20th, and it’s hard to observe without highlighting that trans women are a particularly vulnerable group, doubly so if they’re women of color, and even more so if they engage in the sex trade. TDOR was founded in 1998 to memorialize the still-unsolved murder of Rita Hester, a black trans woman and sex worker. Recently, in late October, a DC police officer was convicted of assault for firing his gun into a car where three trans women were sitting, after the women refused his offer of money for sex. On the 19th of this month, in Miami, a man was arrested and charged with the murder of a Latina trans sex worker.
We Are Dancers, a group helmed by several activist superstars including Tits and Sass contributors Rachel Aimee and Mona Salim, is raising money to further their outreach goals. In other New York activism news, Persist Health Project—an organization our Ask A Pro Sarah Patterson helped found—is holding a benefit to open the city’s first clinic run by and for sex workers.
The hits from our overachieving contributors just keep coming. Melissa Gira Grant published a fantastic piece on strip club labor disputes for The Atlantic, with liberal quoting of our own Bubbles.
The current owner of Nevada’s famous Mustang Ranch was elected commissioner of his county. Of brothel-based prostitution, he says: “The industry is so much more about providing care and human nurturing than anything else.” Guess it would be a good time for us to run a review of Love Ranch. Any volunteers?
The BBC speculates as to how many porn stars can switch from adult to mainstream films.
An Australian escort reacts to the notion that no mother would ever encourage or allow her daughter to become a sex worker.
Two men were sentenced to 5 and 7 years of prison after raping a Glasgow prostitute. It’s possible the two men would have killer her if a passer-by had not intervened.
A post at Feminist Ire ties together the “would you want your daughter to do it” refrain and violence against prostitutes in Scotland.
Sex workers in Kenya are rallying for rights in the wake of a string of murders. In South Africa, one sex worker died during a violent police raid on street activity.