MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice released the names and mug shots Monday of more than 100 men charged with patronizing a prostitute.
Many of those arrested in the month-long sting, dubbed “Operation Flush the Johns,” include lawyers, bankers, teachers and medical professionals.
“Two doctors, two dentists, several lawyers, two engineers, two college professors, two college students, a teacher, a stock broker and a car salesman,” Rice told reporters, including WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.
The men are accused of answering an online ad for escort services on Backpage.com and going to a local hotel or motel, where they were arrested after trying to pay undercover detectives posing as prostitutes for sex, Rice said.
Video of each meeting was captured by hidden cameras in the hotel rooms, Rice said.
“Once money was offered for sex, they were arrested and charged. Police cameras were rolling the entire time,” Rice said.
EXTRA: Read The Full List Of Names
The 104 men were arrested as part of the largest bust of suspected johns in recent Nassau County history, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
Prosecutors said in the last decade, fewer than 40 johns have been arrested by police.
“Sex workers are often vulnerable victims of traffickers and pimps, yet they too often remain the prime targets in prostitution investigations while the johns who fuel the exploitation are treated as mere witnesses,” stated Rice. “My office and the police department are turning the tables on the illogical and immoral nature of that equation.”
Rice offered a warning to other would-be johns who might seek out prostitutes in the future.
“Stop. You’re going to be caught and your mug shot could end up right like these men,” Rice said. “Sex trafficking is horrific and the johns who patronize prostitutes create the demand.”
The DA added the crackdown on johns will continue.
Attorney Dennis Lemke, who represents one of the arrested men, said his client is devastated and humiliated. Lemke believes innocent family members will be hurt and fears children of the accused could be cyberbullied.
“You want to protect the innocent spouses, family members and, most importantly, the kids. They’re in school. These names come out…what do you think is going to happen to these kids?” Lemke said.
He said he believes the district attorney is being vindictive.
“There’s no other way around the reasoning to release those names versus the effect that it’s going to have on the family,” Lemke said.
Lemke cautioned that if the move was for political gain, it could backfire.
“If it’s for political gain, if it’s for votes because she is running in November, I think it will have a backlash,” he told CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan.
Other attorney’s called the move “humiliating.”
“By humiliating them, you are essentially punishing them before the system of justice has worked,” said defense attorney Brian Griffin.
All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty to third-degree patronizing a prostitute. They each face a maximum of one year in jail if convicted.
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