FDU Prof Prostitution Case Prompts Call for Updated Laws
Cases against prostitution websites meet with free speech claims, loopholes.
The governor of New Mexico has called on lawmakers to update the state’s prostitution laws after a judge cleared a former college president and Fairleigh Dickinson University professor on charges they ran an online brothel, the Associated Press reported.
Retired Metro campus professor David C. Flory and former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia were accused in June 2011 of running a website called “Southwest Companions” that linked prostitutes with clients. The site was run as a “hobby” and included 200 female prostitutes and 1,200 johns, police told Patch after the arrest.
In the Southwest Companions case, police did not accuse the pair of profiting from the site, and the AP report notes defense attorneys have argued men posting their experiences with prostitutes on websites are covered by the First Amendment.
A New Mexico judge ruled the site didn’t meet the standards for a “house of prostitution” and was not a "place where prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed," the AP reports. Charges were dropped against both men in October.
Experts said most state laws don’t address online prostitution operations, according to KOAT-TV in Albuquerque.
Prosecutions based on pre-Internet laws are now faced with loopholes and claims the sites are protected under a federal law absolving websites of responsibility for “indecent” content, according to the report.