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Conviction Unlikely for Judge Accused of Raping Prostitute

Can you say busted? The news articles are entitled “New Mexico Judge Charged with Raping Prostitute.” However, it seems the case isn’t so cut and dried.

In Bernalillo County, Judge Pat Murdoch is apparently well-known and highly respected for serving the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in New Mexico for 26 years. Allegedly, he met and paid an unidentified woman for sex on at least eight occasions. The woman alleges that on at least two of those incidences, Murdoch “forced himself on her” and also “forcibly performed oral sex on her, despite her objections to oral sex.” After this occurred once, the woman returned for another meeting and secretly taped the next assault, which she then presented to undercover police.

Savvy Prostitutes, Romantic Johns, and Bad Police Work

I bought you this gift basket...and you arrested me.

When it takes a police force six months of “sting”-level efforts to arrest 36 people for prostitution or solicitation (no trafficking charges, no minors involved, no coercion, and only one drug charge) either that police force is terrible or prostitution is rare in their area. Quite possibly, in Syracuse, both are true.

Last week, I came across a bizarre article detailing the findings—I can’t think of any other word for it—of Syracuse police after they spent almost $4,000 renting an apartment to try to catch potential prostitutes and johns. (Keep in mind that figure doesn’t include the taxpayer money suppling the salaries of the police who spent half a year on this misdemeanor-yielding project.) It’s unclear at the moment how many of their arrests will result in convictions, but at least there’s one tangible outcome from all that time and energy: a 238 page report sharing juicy details of how prostitutes and clients interact “behind close[sic] doors.” Ooo, this is going to be good!

Donut Ho: Sex Work In The Strangest Places

By now the New Jersey Donut Ho is national news. How couldn’t she be? She was allegedly turning tricks at a Dunkin’ Donuts. You couldn’t pick a place with more cops if you were working inside an actual police station. To summarize: A woman who worked the late shift at a DD in Rockaway, NJ would leave her post at the drive-though window to entertain customers in their cars. She was arrested (and released) after six weeks of undercover investigation, a typical waste of public resources on pursuing victimless crimes. Well, not victimless; if anyone has standing for damages in this instance, it’s her employer, yeah?

Her choice of venue was unusual and entrepreneurial, though she wasn’t the first person to choose a nontraditional venue for selling sex. Here’s some other stories about similar go-getters in the sex trade.

What’s Trafficking Got To Do With It: The Media and the Cleveland Kidnappings

(Photo by the Edinburgh Eye)
(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.

8 Minutes Hate: A&E Plans to Ambush Sex Workers

the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”
When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”

“Women who sell their bodies” used to be the go-to word combination that triggered my gag reflex right into action. But “hooker-rescuing cop-turned-pastor” was introduced to my life this week and has transformed my once-tranquil apartment into Lane Champagne’s Extreme Vomitorium. The man with this heinous career trajectory is Kevin Brown and he’s starring in a new reality show tentatively titled 8 Minutes after its premise: He has eight minutes to convince sex workers to leave behind their whoring ways. Those who leave sex work are given free training in the second career of their choice and those who decline are sent on their merry way with Brown’s best wishes for a good earning season. HAHA, just kidding, none of that last sentence is true because whorephobia is pernicious and Earth has actually been Hell along!

Of all the professions to produce potential sex work interventionists, law enforcement and clergy are at the very top of the Unsuitable list. Behind those two are literally every single other profession, because sex work interventions are vile exercises in the hatred and shaming of sex working individuals and shouldn’t exist. And it certainly shouldn’t exist as a spectacle on cable television. There is a Change.org petition to get A&E to shut that shit down, you should sign it. Let’s also take out a Backpage ad in every possible city warning local sex workers to be prepared for lurking reality show cameras.

Producer Tom Forman (the man behind the legally and ethically challenged Kid Nation) told Entertainment Weekly that the show was inspired by an LA Times article about Brown’s rescue missions. That story opens with another cop-turned-resucuer showing up to a woman’s outcall and doing this:

Reese reaches into the pocket of his tan cargo shorts and pulls out a latex condom. There’s a phone number scribbled on one side in black marker. He hands it to her.

He asks if she sees the phone number.

She examines the packet but ignores the question. She presses him for the money.

“I’m not really here for a date,” Reese says. “I’m here to offer you help.”

They rescue this one woman (on the night the reporter is along!), despite having been on 60 previous missions without anyone taking up their offer. She didn’t get career training; she got a one-way ticket home on a Greyhound. And lo, from this massive service to women a reality show was born, one with a 50/50 success rate according to Forman, who also told EW “Sometimes they turn and leave, but that’s the case when trying to save prostitutes.”

Leaving aside the fact that Brown is sentient diarrhea more than he’s an actual person, I’ve broken down the reasons the very concept of the show is a bad idea for two primary types of sex worker that Brown targets: people who don’t want to leave sex work and people who do.