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Letter: Prostitution Sting Stirs Mixed Reactions

Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to the June 4 announcement from District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office about prostitution arrests within Nassau County, which appeared in the June 7 and June 14 editions of Anton Community Newspapers.

The only thing wrong with Kathleen Rice’s public display of the 104 men arrested for illegally patronizing prostitutes in a police sting was the absence of “Client number 105,” former Governor Eliot Spitzer! When he committed a similar crime, he was not sent to jail or fined, even though people working for his house of prostitution were. That was patently unfair, especially since prostitution (the supply) would not exist if there were no (male) demand.

As long as prostitution remains a crime, people who break that law have a lot of nerve to complain about the consequences – even if their identities are made public. They all chose to respond to those escort service ads, travel to the hotel, walk into the rooms where they expected to meet their prostitutes and offer their money as payment. As for these men being “innocent until proven guilty (in a court of law),” their voluntary actions virtually prove their guilt.

However, the most shocking revelation in the Anton Newspaper’s story were the statistics that “in the last ten years, police have arrested fewer than 40 johns, compared to 1,269 prostitution arrests in the last nine years.” Equally disturbing was the fact that “while prostitutes are regularly the prime targets of investigations, those soliciting them are overlooked.” Could gender discrimination be more blatant?

D.A. Rice was right when she referred to the “illogical and immoral nature of that equation.” But the huge discrepancy in those numbers (especially since “it takes two to tango”) is also a condemnation of Rice herself (since she has been Nassau D.A. for years), her prosecutors, the police, our Albany lawmakers, and our court system’s judges. They have all played a part in perpetuating this discriminatory (in)justice doled out to the men and women mutually engaging in prostitution over these decades of unequal “justice.” Shame on all of them.

Richard Siegelman