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A case in point is a recent New Mexico case involving a retired professor and former college administrator who were accused in what police described as an extensive multistate, online prostitution ring, experts say. The problem, legal experts say, stemmed from law enforcement officials trying to apply old prostitution laws in a high-tech world.
A big reason: Many websites function as screening services linking would-be prostitutes with potential customers, Cunningham said. Another barrier for states is a federal law that offers cover for some website owners by protecting them from third-party content, experts say. In the New Mexico case, a judge ruled in June that a website linked to two men accused of helping run an online prostitution ring was legal.
The ruling was a blow for prosecutors, who were preparing to present to a grand jury their case against former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia and David C. Investigators said the prostitution ring had a membership of 14, including prostitutes. Prostitutes were paid with cash, not through the web- site, according to police. Garcia, Flory and others were arrested in June on a criminal complaint charging them with promoting prostitution.
Flory, who has a home in Santa Fe, bought the site inprosecutors said. He was identified by police as the ringleader; Garcia was accused of recruiting prostitutes.
The ruling sparked Gov. In Florida, authorities in set up a sting to shut down a site called Bigdoggie. Investigators said the website connected customers to escorts and published reviews on escorts.
Charges against four female escorts also were dropped. And in Minnesota, Back.
Still, he said authorities have limitations. That means authorities go after costumers and prostitutes who later engage in an exchange of money for sex after meeting online, he said. Confusion over the federal law, and the fact that state lawmakers feel powerless against it, could explain why states have avoided tackling online prostitution problems legislatively, Cunningham said.
Instead, he said, states are allowing police and prosecutors to aggressively pursue targeted cases. For example, in Kissimmee, Fla. They used a decoy house to nab suspects on charges including entering a dwelling to commit prostitution.
For example, if authorities can clearly identify that a site is promoting prostitution, they can go after the ISP address or use racketeering or corruption statutes to prosecute owners. Up. Log In. Purchase a Subscription. We hope that you continue to enjoy our free content.
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