Friday, May 03, 2013

Undercover Police Officer In Carmel Prosecution Accepted Intimate Sexual Contact With Accused Prostitutes

I had to laugh when the City of Carmel's police department held a big press conference the other day to brag about busting a few Asian women who ran massage parlors that offered massages with happy endings for prostitution. Now it turns out that the undercover police officer used in the sting against them was allowing the women to fondle his genitals each time he received a massage from them. Yep, that's right. This police office got paid to get hand jobs from accused prostitutes before charging them with prostitution. The Star's Ryan Sabalow has a story today questioning the police technique used to ensnare the women:
About 1 p.m. on Dec. 19, a man walked into the Dove Spa, a massage parlor in a nondescript Carmel commercial strip, and asked for the services of one of the women working there.
What the woman didn’t know was the man was an undercover police officer, wearing a wire. And what the woman did next, detectives now allege, was illegal: In exchange for $100 plus a $35 tip, she fondled the officer’s genitals.
Four more times the officer went back, according to a probable-cause affidavit released this week. During that time, over five months, the officer also visited a massage parlor in Zionsville. And each time, he allowed the women — all Chinese immigrants — to fondle him in exchange for cash, all in a fight against prostitution and human trafficking.
Officers say such methods led to a victory for Carmel and Zionsville on Wednesday, when 30 officers raided two businesses, arresting six people — four alleged prostitutes and two alleged pimps.
But the methods police say were needed to shut down a sophisticated prostitution ring were criticized Thursday by legal and law-enforcement experts and women’s advocates as excessive, unnecessary and misapplied to an investigation that involved possible human trafficking.
They say that prostitutes can be arrested and charged in Indiana as soon as an agreement to pay for a sex act is made. Intimate contact was not required. Plus, some said, if the women indeed had been victims of sexual exploitation, working in the sex trade against their will, the sex acts they performed on the officer only contributed to their humiliation, exploitation and degradation.
“How do you simultaneously say you’re protecting them by arresting them, but then you’re victimizing them by your undercover stuff?” said Eugene O’Donnell, a former New York police officer and prosecutor who’s now a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “If they’re in fact exploited and ... their free will is overwhelmed by the people they’re working for, then are you helping them or are they being doubly victimized? Is this official victimization by the state?” . . .
This reminds me of the IMPD officer who worked undercover at the NIFS men's locker room. He would take showers without drawing his curtain and play with himself until he enticed someone else in the showers to play along with him before charging them with public indecency and hauling them out of the gym in handcuffs. A Marion County judge rightfully dismissed the cases after he testified what he did. Keep an eye on this case. This case is going to make national headlines before it's all over and the Carmel Police Department is going to have egg all over its face.


CircleCityScribe said...
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Gary R. Welsh said...

No touching is required to prove the case. This is the first time I've ever heard of an undercover police officer engaging in actual sexual contact with a suspect as a basis for bringing a charge of prostitution against them. In every case I've ever read about, the undercover officer wears a wire and gets the target to agree that the money being exchanged will include sexual activity. Once the target agrees to provide a sexual service for money, the arrest is made.

Cato said...

Simple: Since the cop also engaged in the illegal act, bust him, too. He's admitted on the record to the same violation of law that he alleged.

CircleCityScribe said...

Is SGT Frank Drebin of Police Squad handling this????

Does anyone expect a prostitute to say: "Hey, big guy, I'll fondle your genitals for $100?"