Police search for hookers online, on streets

LEWISTON — He said his name was Jason Hilliard and he was in town for a conference. He was stuck at a local hotel for the night and could use a little companionship.

Prostitution Sting
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Lewiston Police Officer Tom Murphy, left, and Sgt. Marc Robitaille discuss logistics with an undercover Maine Drug Enforcement agent on Friday during a prostitution sting.

Prostitution Sting
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Lewiston Police's Sgt. Marc Robitaille watches Cpl.Timothy Darnell engage in conversation in the next room with a female he called from a Sun Journal and Craigslist personal ad on Friday night. The female was asking $200 an hour for "female companionship," which is not against the law. No money was exchanged and she left.

Prostitution Sting
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

An undercover MDEA agent monitors surveillance equipment in an adjoining hotel room in Lewiston while helping the Lewiston Police with a prostitution sting Friday.

Prostitution Sting
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Cpl. Timothy Darnell, right, calls a phone number from a Craigslist personal ad while Sgt. Marc Robitaille, left, and officer Tom Murphy talk logistics during a prostitution sting Friday in Lewiston. No one was arrested while at the hotel.

Prostitution Sting
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Lewiston Police Sgt. Marc Robitaille, left, and officer Tom Murphy receive a signal that the girl called from a Craigslist and Sun Journal personal ad is approaching the hotel room next door during a prostitution sting. The female was not arrested because she did not solicit the undercover officer in the adjoining room.

The man calling himself Jason Hilliard went to work. He browsed the classified section of the local paper and took a peek at Craigslist.

“I saw your ad,” he said after placing a call. “I was hoping we could get together tonight.”

For the next five minutes, Jason Hilliard sat on the motel bed trying to hash out an agreement with the young lady who called herself "Kylie" in the personal ad.

At last, a plan was in place. She would call at 6:30 p.m. and he would provide his room number. After that, they could negotiate a price and get down to business.

“OK,” he said into the phone. “I’ll see you then, kiddo.”

He smiled and looked very much like a weary businessman on the road — the yellow, button-up shirt, slightly wrinkled, with tie removed. The black slacks, a day’s worth of beard on the cheeks. No sign of a wedding ring.

“We’re all set,” he said to the others in the room. Then he started scanning the ads again and dialed a new number.

Jason Hilliard is actually Lewiston police Cpl. Tim Darnell, who typically spends his days investigating liquor violations. This night, he was bait in the latest police sting targeting prostitutes who do their business through online or newspaper advertising.

In the adjoining motel room were several other officers. Sgt. Marc Robitaille was there to help coordinate the operation and keep equipment — the motel room was set up with hidden cameras and microphones — in working order.

Officer Tom Murphy was there. The sting was his operation and he fretted over each detail. It’s not enough to simply entice prostitutes to a motel room, he said. Everything had to be done with precision so that the case could be prosecuted in court.

A burly, Maine Drug Enforcement undercover agent was there as well. He and Murphy were the take-down team, the officers who would arrest the women as soon as they offered sex for money. They were also on the lookout for any men — pimps, as they are called — who might come by.

“If someone comes in and tries to broker the deal, we’ve got to be ready for that,” the undercover agent said.

There was also the possibility that a pimp would lurk outside the motel room, hang around the lobby or sit outside in a car. The officers had to be aware of who they were dealing with at all times.

The safe word was “aspirin.” Had Darnell uttered the word, it would have meant there was trouble and the other officers would have come running.

But before any of that could happen, Darnell had to convince one of the suspected prostitutes to come to his room. It was not as easy as it sounds.

Several of the women who ran personal ads were already set up in hotel rooms in other cities. They would not make the trip to Lewiston.

One local woman said she had her children with her and could not leave them unattended for an hour or more. She also would not come to the hotel.

Then there was Kylie, who said over the phone that she was already doing business at another motel. She agreed to make the short trip over to join Hilliard in his room. The cost of her companionship, she said, was $200 per hour.

But that alone was not enough for police to make an arrest.

When Kylie came to the motel room, the other officers were hunkered down in the adjoining room, watching and listening with the surveillance equipment, ready to pounce.

At first, it appeared Kylie would take the bait. But then, after speaking with the “weary businessman” for three or four minutes, she appeared to grow suspicious. Darnell sprawled on the bed and told her he was just a computer guy in town for a conference. He let her pat him down for a wire. She did and found none.

But in the end, Kylie walked out. For reasons unknown, she was not convinced that the man in the motel room was legitimate.

Police had to let her go.

“We were a little bit unlucky tonight,” Murphy said.

It’s the nature of the business. Police might nab a handful of suspected hookers one night but walk away empty-handed the next. Murphy said police efforts to target local prostitutes through advertising would continue.

Meanwhile, the man named Hilliard was retired for the night. Darnell lost the slacks and yellow shirt. He slipped into blue jeans, a ratty coat and a baseball cap turned backwards.

Meet a working Joe, looking for a little action after a long week on the construction site.

For the rest of the night Friday, police were out downtown, looking for street-level prostitutes rather than those found in the personal ads.

The different varieties require different strategies: Darnell spent the rest of his night driving through the downtown, waiting for a streetwalker to approach him and make an offer. Here, police said, there was likely to be less nuance and more direct interaction.

“The prostitutes we find in the personal ads are typically more organized,” Robitaille said. “On the street, it’s different. Often, we find that the prostitutes here have a drug dependence. They come right up to you."

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RONALD RIML's picture

Anti-Gay Baptist Preacher rents 'Rent-Boy!!"

Ah - Rent Boys!

The cops would have to disguise themselves as Rock Solid Conservative Bible-Banging Baptist Preachers when snaring thgese young lads.....

Christian right leader George Rekers takes vacation with "rent boy" - http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2010-05-06/news/christian-right-leader-geor...

By Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp Thursday, May 6 2010

"The pictures on the Rentboy.com profile show a shirtless young man with delicate features, guileless eyes, and sun-kissed, hairless skin. The profile touts his "smooth, sweet, tight ass" and "perfectly built 8 inch cock (uncut)" and explains he is "sensual," "wild," and "up for anything" — as long you ask first. And as long as you pay.

On April 13, the "rent boy" (whom we'll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.

That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy's client and, as it happens, one of America's most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera.

Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)

Yet Rekers wouldn't deny he met his slender, blond escort at Rentboy.com — which features homepage images of men in bondage and grainy videos of crotch-rubbing twinks — and Lucien confirmed it.

At the small western Miami townhome he shares with a roommate, a nervous Lucien expressed surprise when we told him that Rekers denied knowing about his line of work from the beginning. "He should've been able to tell you that," he said, fidgeting and fixing his eyes on his knees. "But that's up to him."

For decades, George Alan Rekers has been a general in the culture wars, though his work has often been behind the scenes. In 1983, he and James Dobson, America's best-known homophobe, formed the Family Research Council, a D.C.-based, rabidly Christian, and vehemently anti-gay lobbying group that has become a standard-bearer of the nation's extreme right wing. Its annual Values Summit is considered a litmus test for Republican presidential hopefuls, and Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have spoken there. (The Family Research Council would not comment about Rekers's Euro-trip.)

He has also influenced American government, serving in advisory roles with Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services and testifying as a state's witness in favor of Florida's gay adoption ban. A former research fellow at Harvard University and a distinguished professor of neuropsychiatry at the University of South Carolina, Rekers has published papers and books by the hundreds, with titles like Who Am I? Lord and Growing Up Straight: What Families Should Know About Homosexuality.

"While he keeps a low public profile, his fingerprints are on almost every anti-gay effort to demean and dehumanize LGBT people," says Wayne Besen, a gay rights advocate in New York City and the executive director of Truth Wins Out, which investigates the anti-gay movement. "His work is ubiquitously cited by lobby groups that work to deny equality to LGBT Americans. Rekers has caused a great deal of harm to gay and lesbian individuals."

Rekers is a board member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an organization that systematically attempts to turn gay people straight. And the Huffington Post recently singled out Rekers as a member of the American College of Pediatricians — an official-sounding outfit in Gainesville that purveys lurid, youth-directed literature accusing gays of en masse coprophilia. (In an email, the college's Lisa Hawkins wrote, "ACPeds feels privileged to have a scholar of Dr. Rekers' stature affiliated with our organization. I am sure you will find Prof. Rekers to be an immaculate clinician/scholar, and a warm human being.")

Rekers lectures worldwide, from Europe to the Middle East, on teen sexuality. Yet during his ten-day sojourn with Lucien to London and Madrid, he had no lectures scheduled. Both men deny having sex on the trip, and emails exchanged between the two before their jaunt are cautiously worded.

"I'd like to propose another trip to Rome, Italy, for a week or more," Rekers wrote in an email dated March 21 obtained by New Times. "This is so exciting to have a nice Travel Assistant and traveling companion! Wow! I'm so glad I met you."

"I called and talked to the reservation guy in London and reserved a room with two twin beds," Rekers wrote on March 26.

"Now that I'm packed, tomorrow I'll work on completing my income tax return," Rekers wrote two days later. "Not fun... But I'll just remind myself that the fun trip is coming soon."

In his interview with New Times, Lucien didn't want to impugn his client, but he made it clear they met through Rentboy.com, which is the only website on which he advertises his services. Neither Google nor any other search engine picks up individual Rentboy.com profiles, any more than they pick up individual profiles on eHarmony or Match.com. You cannot just happen upon one.

To arrive at Lucien's site, Rekers must have accepted Rentboy.com's terms of use, thereby acknowledging he was not offended by graphic sexual material. He then would have been transported to a front page covered with images of naked, tumescent men busily sodomizing each other.

Then Rekers must have performed a search. Did he want a "rentboy," a "sugar daddy," or a "masseur"? In what country? And what city? If Rekers searched for a rent boy in Miami, he would have found approximately 80 likely candidates. He must have scrolled down the first page, past the shirtless bears and desperate ex-models, and on to page 2. There, at last, was Lucien.

As a favor to Rekers, Lucien recently removed any wanton sexual descriptors from his Rentboy profile. Though he does admit Rekers "likes younger guys to hang out with," Lucien is protective of his erstwhile client. He describes Rekers primarily as a family man — one whose passion for oppressing homosexuals is dwarfed by his desire to help children. "You don't understand how much this guy honestly cares about taking care of kids," he says.

Indeed, much of Rekers's activism over the past three decades — beginning with his 1983 book, Shaping Your Child's Sexual Identity — has been devoted to improving children's lives by educating them, protecting them from their own budding sexualities, and keeping them safe from gay adoptions — as he did by testifying as an expert witness in favor of gay adoption bans in both Arkansas and Florida.

Well, it's a good thing Rekers isn't gay himself. Lucien tells us that Rekers frequently takes in foster children and that four years ago he adopted a 16-year-old boy. We found the boy, who is now Lucien's age, on Facebook. He declined to be interviewed."

 's picture

Unless these democratic pols

Unless these democratic pols have a city or state issued credit card the hookers will not see much money coming their way. They know this and so they take the weekend off. No arrests. The pols are too bust screwing each other anyway. No honor among thieves.

RONALD RIML's picture

Violent crime accompanied

Violent crime accompanied prohibition. Ther distribution of illegal booze was a very lucrative business, and it was bloody war to stake out territory for selling it.

Just as the drug wars we are having today,

People ARE going to buy sex and drugs. You can have them do so safely and legally - or illegally and frought with disease, violence, and untold billions filling criminal coffers. Your choice.

RONALD RIML's picture

You can think??

You don't even have the guts to register here with your real name. And we should take you seriously?? JP Freely, Indeed.

Folks buy drugs all the time - alcohol and tobacco - purely legal. If Sally is an adult, why shouldn't she be able to make that decision?

Many present and former Law Enforcement and Judicial Officers recognize the farce that has been "The War on Drugs."

We have the highest prison incarceration rate in the world - nearly one out of every hundred adults is locked up. We have about 1.5 million in prison, with another 800,000 in city and county jails. This is 1/3 of the world's total. All this in the "Land of the Free?"

Here's an article to read: http://abcnews.go.com/US/Politics/law-enforcement-support-decriminalizat...

"Is the War on Drugs More Costly Than It's Worth? - Some Law Enforcement Officials Support Decriminalization of Drugs

Sept. 19, 2009—

Every 18 seconds, an American is busted for drug possession, according to Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) crime statistics released Monday.

The new statistics point to a continued emphasis on drug interdiction -- otherwise known as the "war on drugs" -- that more and more law enforcement officers are now questioning.

While many experts hold the anti-drug campaign to be the key reason for the decline in the crime rate in the US, especially violent crime, since the 1990s, these police officers, as well as current and retired judges and prosecutors see, instead, thousands of American lives ruined for small drug infractions in a costly and possibly unwinnable "war."

"Not only do these officers see the terrible results that their work has had on individuals' lives, but a lot of what I hear from beat officers and undercover narcotics agents is they've seen colleagues die in the line of fire trying to enforce laws that have no positive impacts," says Tom Angell, a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) in Washington. "For a lot of them, this is about trying to keep good cops alive by repealing stupid prohibition laws."

According to the latest FBI figures, 82.3 percent of all drug arrests in 2008 were for possession, and 44.3 percent of these for possession of marijuana. Arrests totaled more than 1.7 million.

"You can get over an addiction, but you will never get over a conviction, said Jack Cole, a retired undercover narcotics agent and LEAP director, in a statement Tuesday about the "collateral consequences" of the war on drugs.

Changing Attitudes - The emergence of frontline officers speaking out against the war on drugs is helping to kindle a debate about legalization of drugs across the US, says Mr. Angell. It is even driving a Congressional bill written by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virigina ,to establish a new Blue Ribbon justice system panel that would take a serious look at drug legalization.

The US could gain $77 billion in revenue a year by legalizing -- and taxing -- marijuana, cocaine and heroin, says LEAP.

Culturally, attitudes about drugs may be changing. A Zogby poll in May showed for that the first time a majority of Americans favor decriminalizing marijuana. States such as Massachusetts and California have already taken steps in that direction.

"[Most] drugs are more readily available at lower prices today than when Nixon declared a war against it," says Norm Stamper, a former Seattle police chief and a staunch proponent of drug legalization, referring in part to the lower price of marijuana.

However, White House "drug czar" Gil Kerlikowske recently said, "Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary and it's not in mine."

Sending the Wrong Message? - Pro-legalization groups are missing the forest for the trees, says Gregory D. Lee, a retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent. He says the dwindling crime rate across the US is directly correlated to the government's investment in border and street interdiction.

"Legalization sends a message that it's okay to do drugs when in reality these drugs have a tremendous impact on the future of the people who take them," he says. "[Under legalization], the crime rate would rise because of crimes committed by people under the influence of these substances."

Mr. Lee points to the rising price of cocaine in the US as a sign that domestic and international interdiction is working. "The war on drugs," he says, "is being won."

Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures

RONALD RIML's picture

This is going downhill quickly!!!!

ROTFLMFAO!!!!

Like drugs, it should be decriminalized, regulated, and taxed.

RONALD RIML's picture

LOL

Every song-bird needs to learn it's own 'warble.'

And like they said about the Navy - It's not a job, it's an adventure!!!

(I really pity these poor troops out in I-fugg-istan or wherever) I can see why the muslims opine that boys are for pleasure, and women are for bearing children.

 's picture

Maybe we should send the

Maybe we should send the troops in the sand out for a WestPac when they're done as a way to wind down. A little time in the PI will cheer them up.

RONALD RIML's picture

Too Bad, so Sad...

They shut down the base at Subic Bay....

Olongapo (Disneyland for Sailors) ain't what it was.....

R.I.P.

But they sure deserve sumpin'!!!

RONALD RIML's picture

A Blast from the Past!!!

Say what you want - these girls are not stupid business-folk, and they do know the law!! And hey, it's rough out there, and there's too much 'Freebies' going around.

- And any with a lick of sense can smell 'bacon' fifty yards off. We cops, even with long hair and a beard, were just too 'healthy' looking.

When I joined the Force back in my old home town, I had just come out of the Navy after nine years. Suffice it to say, after touring all the gin-mills and flesh-pots of the western Pacific for most of that time, I did have more than a passing knowledge of the 'Oldest Profession.' Seems the PD was eager to utilize my subject matter knowledge - and put me to work masquerading as a horny sailor on leave. They even gave me a wad of money and sent me into bars. Rough duty!!!

Now this was over 35 years ago, and we didn't have the fancy wires, cell phones, etc that are commonplace today.

Several times my plain-clothes detail 'lost me' as I would go to the place of assignation with the sweet young 'thang' - occasionally in the ghetto, and there were some excitement.

"Oh, Honey, pull it out!" - And what she saw wasn't what she expected.....

We had this one lawyer - I swear - who must have had a collection of adult sized "First Communion Dresses" from size 6 to 28 that he would dress the girls up in for their court date. "Your Honor, Would such an innocent Angel be capable of thse viscious allegations??"

- No doubt they paid their legal fees on his office couch....

Ah, memories.....

 's picture

What?????

You got to be kidding!And they cut what from our schools.

 's picture

I wonder if the dozen or so

I wonder if the dozen or so shirts hanging up in the room tipped her off. A "computer guy in town for a conference" usually doesn't stick around long enough to wear a week's worth of clothes.

 's picture

Poor Judgement

Seems like a bad idea for the "undercover" guys to have their pictures in the paper. But then, maybe the "hookers" and "pimps" don't read the paper.

 's picture

Waste of Man Power

I find it hard to believe that the Lew/Aub area don't have enough other types of crime that they will waste the manpower & tax dollars on this trivial stuff

 's picture

Dumb!!!!

They should hang out where the democrats are ganging up! Cheaper and taxfree believe or not!

Hooker article

The LSJ should be ashamed runing this article the weekend of the first Democratic State Con vention to be held in Lewiston since 1984, Great publicity!

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