Scandal begins when the police put a stop to it. – Karl Kraus
On a number of occasions I’ve analyzed news stories and press releases about cops harassing and/or arresting prostitutes (the best examples being October 19th and November 12th), but today I’d like to do something different; I’m sure most of my regular readers can do it for themselves by now, so I’m going to give you a little quiz. The following is a story which appeared on the website of the Fox affiliate in Houston, Texas last Thursday (March 17th); read it carefully and then answer the questions after it. Please don’t think I’m making light of a sister’s misfortune because that is NOT my intention; rather, I hope to use it as a “teachable moment” in order to hasten the day when the public no longer stands for women to be violated by uniformed bullies in this way.
Fort Bend [County] deputies say they’ve arrested the owner/operator of an online-based prostitution business. Robin Jeanette Jordan, 37, was arrested at her Richmond home and charged with Prostitution. She’s sitting in Harris County Jail on a bond worth $5,000. Jordan’s home, in the 2900 block of Jane Long League Drive, is within walking distance of Pecan Grove Elementary School.
Agents with the Fort Bend County Narcotics Task Force were able to infiltrate Jordan’s business in an undercover capacity, according to a sheriff’s office statement. Their investigation unearthed various items of evidence:
— Surveillance footage of persons associated with Jordan’s business. Of note was an individual who is presently on bond for drug-related charges in Fort Bend County.
— Downloaded information from the suspected website that included a list of services and their respective prices.
On March 11, agents obtained a search warrant to look through Jordan’s home. Once there, agents recovered enough evidence to file charges against Jordan:
— Numerous CDRs and DVDs containing sexually-explicit images and videos
— Paperwork listing names, numbers, ledgers and contraband associated with operating a prostitution organization
— Home video footage showing Jordan associating with a convicted felon (money laundering)
A woman was at the home. She had 2 prior convictions for Prostitution. The sheriff’s office is withholding her name for the time being. Jordan’s arrest was the result of an ongoing covert investigation. The Houston Police Department’s Vice Division also collaborated in the investigation. Fort Bend’s NTF is a Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking initiative.
Yes, I know the reporter’s 4th-grade-level writing skills are painful to read, but I wanted you to see it as it appeared (though without the superfluous headings). Read it again to get a clear grasp of the statements and claims, then answer the following as completely as possible:
1) In the first paragraph, why is the home’s proximity to a school mentioned?
2) What does “infiltrate Jordan’s business in an undercover capacity” actually mean? How about “persons associated with Jordan’s business”?
3) Do you think she actually had “a list of services and their respective prices” on her website?
4) How can porn videos be considered “evidence of prostitution”?
5) What is “contraband associated with operating a prostitution organization”?
6) Why aren’t the police releasing the name of the other woman, who apparently wasn’t arrested?
7) What do you think was the actual sequence of events here? Hint: look at the description of the “individual of note” and the last three sentences of the story.
OK, let’s look at my answers. Obviously, you’ll have to grade yourselves on the honor system; your answers needn’t be exact but they should be close. If you feel your answer is better than mine, explain why in a comment and it may invite discussion.
1) Obviously the location of the school is totally immaterial; I daresay more than 75% of suburban houses are within “walking distance” of a school. Clearly, this was included to provoke fear in ignorant readers and thereby stoke public resentment against Jordan. One point for a correct answer, and give yourself a bonus point if you specified any of the following as instrumental in creating that fear: A) “sex rays” from harlotry contaminating the nearby innocents; B) children being abducted into “sex trafficking”; C) unconscious association with registered sex offenders being prohibited from living near schools. Two bonus points if you mentioned more than one.
2) It probably means they knocked on the door in plain clothes and then showed their badges; it could mean she was the subject of a sting but I think that unlikely given my reasoning in the answer to #7. “Associated persons” means either they visited more than once or stayed for more than a few minutes when they visited; they might even be personal friends who had nothing to do with her business. One point for answering the second section, and one for giving either of the answers to the first (two points if you mentioned both).
3) Nope. Brandy Devereaux looked at her site before it was taken down and there was no such “menu”. According to Brandy: “Her site…has been taken down as of sometime last night or yesterday…I could not find prices on the site but it did list “Services I provide” with a rundown of CFS, Russian, GFE, DATY, etc etc.”
Since any escort knows better than to link prices to specific activities, this is just another police lie as is typical in prostitution busts. One point for any “no” answer, two if you mentioned the habitual police lying.
4) The same way condoms, winking, being alone or lack of underwear can be. (1 point)
5) “Contraband” means anything legally prohibited from being imported or exported, but ignorant cops sometimes use it to mean any illegal substance. But in any case, there is not one single illegal object or substance “associated with running a prostitution operation”, so this could mean practically anything. Either this mysterious “evidence” really is associated with prostitution but isn’t contraband (for example condoms or sex toys) or it really is contraband but isn’t really associated with prostitution (like Cuban cigars or poached ivory). My best guess is drugs of some kind (since cops like to pretend we’re all druggies); maybe black-market Viagra? (1 point)
6) Because they’re hoping to “flip” her (i.e. threaten her with prosecution so as to frighten her into betraying other people). (1 point)
7) The cops clearly had no idea the woman was an escort; the arresting cops were with a “Narcotics Task Force” and were therefore spying on the “individual…on bond for drug-related charges” and probably thought all the comings and goings from the woman’s house were dope deals. They got a warrant based on that, hoping to find money and drugs they could steal, and were disappointed to find neither. But after rooting through her papers like the nosy perverts they are, they got her website address and looked it up, thereby discovering her business. Notice that the vice department is only said to have “collaborated in the investigation”, i.e, they told the drug-sniffing pigs what lies to tell about the hooker and advised them to claim videos of a type found in most people’s houses as “evidence of prostitution”. Incidentally, the vice department later took credit for the “bust” in a bogus statement claiming that “Officers from both the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office and HPD had been trying to infiltrate this alleged sex business for months. They were tipped off by an anonymous letter, from a concerned resident.” This is of course total bullshit, but their egos can’t allow the public to know that a different department stumbled on it by accident, and a police state depends on cultivating distrust between neighbors by encouraging people to betray others to the “authorities”.
Score one point if you recognized that the bust was accidental, one for picking up on the drug connection, one for recognizing that the website was only found after the raid and one for recognizing that the vice department’s contribution was minor.
1-3 Either you’re still asleep or you need to reread every column with the “cops” tag.
4-7 You’re fairly clever, but not nearly cynical enough (or vice versa).
8-11 You’ve definitely been paying attention and have a healthy level of cop-skepticism.
12-15 You’re either a whore, an ex-cop or a great student!
Once enough people can read stories like this and see them for what they are, perhaps there will be enough public outcry against these abuses that the courts will force police to stop them, and women quietly trying to make a living in the way which works best for them will no longer have to fear their homes being invaded and their freedom violated by brutal thugs who use the law as an excuse to assault, rob and abduct women.