Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Prostitution: Everyone Has an Opinion, Everyone is Wrong (Final Comments)

When I was in corporate security with a major company, I was having dinner with one of the company’s facility managers.  Nice guy.  He was asking me about my previous experience in the FBI; and the topic of Margo St. James and prostitution came up.  He said that he wanted to ask me something – kind of personal.

He went on to say that his wife had, for the most part, lost interest in sex – and, in fact, she never had much interest, although they had conceived two children together.  He said that about every six months he and his wife would drive to Nevada and visit the casinos.  In addition, they would usually take a drive to one of the adjacent counties where prostitution is legal; and visit a business like the Mustang Ranch.  While his wife read a book in the car, he would go inside and hire a prostitute.  He asked me if I thought this was weird.  Although at the time I did think that our conversation had taken an odd turn, and that it was really more than I cared to know about his personal life, I responded:  “No, not at all.”  And, I was being truthful.  If that arrangement was fine with his wife, why would or should anyone else care?

And, why is most of the public, apparently, against prostitution (sex exchanged for money), when it’s all around us in various guises?  I’m really not quite sure.  Let’s be clear.  I’m not referring to pimping, violence or exploiting minors.  I’m talking about two consenting adults.

Oregon law reads as follows:

§ 167.007¹
A person commits the crime of prostitution if the person engages in, or offers or agrees to engage in, sexual conduct or sexual contact in return for a fee.

§ 167.008¹ 
Patronizing a prostitute
A person commits the crime of patronizing a prostitute if the person pays, or offers or agrees to pay, a fee to engage in sexual conduct or sexual contact.

Both are misdemeanors under Oregon law.

Pretty straightforward description of what constitutes the crime of ‘prostitution’ and ‘patronizing a prostitute,’ isn’t it?  And, I might add, it’s very cleverly worded.  If, for example, you were to remove the word ‘fee’ and replace it with the word ‘money’ or ‘gratuity’: well, you can see the problems that might jump out.  You would have opened Pandora’s Box.  This could then apply to many marriages, cohabitating couples, girlfriends and ‘one-night-stands.’  Unless the woman, in such a relationship, could prove that she was self-supporting or did not actually have sex with her partner, paramour or date; and if the more intimate circumstances were to become known, than we might have a prima facie case for prostitution.

Said law, ambiguous at best, victimless perhaps, begs the question; don’t our law enforcement agencies have something better to occupy their time?

The folks in Tigard should pose that question to the Chief of Police.

True Nelson
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