Some very prominent New York Democratics are urging leniency in the prosecution of a former male escort service boss, the Associated Press reported.
According to the AP, Jeffrey Hurant was the CEO of Rentboy.com and has pleaded guilty to prostitution charges. Hurant’s sympathizers said he was being singled-out because he offered a same-sex service.
The defendant is due for sentencing Wednesday, with the DA’s office urging jail time as a warning to other prostitution rings, while Hurant’s lawyers are seeking probation.
But the case has captured the attention of legal and civil rights activists who say a harsh judgement would be inappropriate given the case’s sensitivity in the LGBT community.
Getting tough with the call-guy manager is supposedly wrong “because it harkens back to a dark chapter in our nation’s history when the government used its vast resources to target and threaten LGBT adults by exposing their private consensual sexual activity,” according to Democratic state Sen. Sen. Brad Hoylman.
Then there is the letter signed by five LGBT New York City council members who insisted, “a harsh sentence will serve neither society nor the rehabilitation of Mr. Hurant.” More correspondence from two New York Congressman, Jerrold Nader and Sean Patrick Maloney, suggested the feds had wasted time and money pursuing Hurant, because he hadn’t hurt anyone with his business.
Before his arrest, Hurant was a Big Apple high-roller. His “business” had a plethora of advertisers, 500,000 visitors a day and was pulling in about $2 million a year. So brazen was the escort agency that it actually hosted an gala awards night ever year and through parties.
Prosecutors pointed to the nude photos on the website and the fact that it cost more to “rent” the better looking escorts, as proof that the escort service as a prostitution scheme. The fees went as high as $3,500 for a weekend tryst.