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Spokane police officer suspended for ties to woman

A Spokane police officer has been suspended for two months without pay after the department determined he had been associating with a woman engaging in prostitution, drugs and burglary.

Police Chief Frank Straub issued a “last-chance agreement” to Officer Darrell Quarles, according to a news release Monday.

“It is my obligation to hold all employees, police officers and civilians to the highest ethical and professional standards” Straub said. “Unethical and unprofessional conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Check out Tom Clouse's full story here.

Update: Abortion Flap Stuns Mendive

Freshman Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, was surprised to learn that there’s a news story out about a question he asked this morning regarding abortion and prostitution – and that it’s going viral. He attended an ACLU breakfast presentation in the Capitol this morning, and when  it was opened up for questions and answers at the end, Mendive said his question was prompted by the group placing women’s reproductive rights among its high priorities. So he asked whether the ACLU supports prostitution along with abortion, because it’s also “a woman’s choice.” The Associated Press reported that there were “audible gasps” in the room at his question/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Betsy reports that Mendive was surprised to see his comments to the ACLU reps go viral today. Should he be?

7th suspected brothel owner arrested

The owner of two Spokane businesses suspected of being prostitution fronts was released from jail Thursday after being arrested Wednesday.

William R. Westover, 41, faces money laundering and promoting prostitution charges after a 14-month investigation culminated in raids at eight suspected brothels.

Westover owns the Far East Oriental Spa, 213 E. Sprague Ave., and the Asian Spa, 3130 N. Division St. Investigators with the Airway Heights Police Department developed confidential informants after a prostitution sting at Northern Quest Casino.

One of those informants applied for jobs with Westover and told detectives he had her display her naked breasts. Another informant said she gave Westover a massage and had sex with him, accepted payment, then declined his job offer.

Also, according to court documents, “during an interview with a confidential informant, Westover told the confidential informant that she could use a condom for a client the first time she saw the client but was not permitted after that.”

Police reviewed Westover's bank records and found he'd made 41 large deposits between January 2010 and April 2012 totally $165,000.

Six people connected to five other suspected brothels were released from jail Wednesday.

Suspected brothel owners released

Five women and one man arrested in a sweeping anti-prostitution investigation at Spokane-area spas and massage parlors have been released from jail.

The suspects, who own four of eight suspected brothels raided Tuesday, have no criminal records and were allowed to leave without posting bond. Prosecutors did not object to their release, and they were ordered to return to court July 23 to be arraigned on charges of second-degree promoting prostitution and money laundering

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

July 10: Eight suspected brothels raided in Spokane

Suspected area sex houses raided

Eight suspected brothels, including the Oriental Spa South at 515 S. Maple Ave., were raided across the Spokane area Tuesday by a multi-agency law enforcement task force. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

A yearlong investigation into widespread prostitution in Spokane County culminated Tuesday with raids at eight suspected brothels in what authorities say is an attempt to permanently close the longtime businesses.

Complaints from Northern Quest Casino officials about prostitution activity prompted the Airway Heights Police Department to conduct undercover strings of suspected prostitutes who in turn agreed to work as confidential informants.

Read the rest of my story here.

Alleged sex slave traders released

Four people arrested in what investigators believe is Spokane County’s first human trafficking case were released this weekend because no charges have been filed.

Spokane County sheriff’s investigators still are working on the case against Lawrence Dean Johnson, 43, his wife, Dina K. Tellez, 43; Christopher G. Foster, 33; and Foster’s girlfriend, Shanell L. Haddon, 28.

The suspects were released from the Spokane County Jail because prosecutors did not file charges within three days of their arrest as required by law. They can still be charged, and investigators still are working on charging recommendations for prosecutors.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

May 24: Sex slave claim leads to 4 arrests

Sex slave claims lead to four arrests

A frightened young woman’s descriptions of being held captive and sold for sex at drug houses and motels over the past year has led to several arrests in what’s believed to be Spokane County’s first human trafficking case.

Lawrence Dean Johnson, 43, his wife, Dina K. Tellez, 43; Christopher G. Foster, 33; and Shanell L. Haddon, 28, who is Foster’s girlfriend, are in the Spokane County Jail as prosecutors consider formal charges against them.

Dave Skogen, a detective with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday that more victims could be identified.

Foster denied the allegations in an interview with The Spokesman-Review from jail Thursday evening.

“They should get a psychiatric evaluation done on this chick,” Foster said. “Then the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office will realize what a big mistake they’ve made.”

Read the rest of my story here.

Sullivan says Prostitution incident isolated

WASHINGTON – The prostitution scandal that has embroiled the Secret Service is not evidence of a wider culture of boozing and paying for sex among those who are trained to take a bullet for the president, the director of the agency told skeptical senators.

The senators challenged Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan to explain how it was possible, without an atmosphere of permissiveness among the agency’s supervisors, that 12 agents could go out in separate groups on April 11 in Cartagena, Colombia, independently decide to bring women back to their hotel rooms, and then sign the women in at the front desk next to the agents’ real names.

“I’m confident this is not a cultural issue. This is not a systemic issue with us,” said Sullivan, speaking for the first time in public about the incident. More here.

Isolated incidents or part of a partying while on the road culture?

Prostitutes cite ugly local competition

A group of traveling prostitutes suspected of settling in Spokane told police they were making good money here because the local competition is so ugly.

One woman is in custody and other arrests are possible as part of an ongoing investigation into a 36-year-old California man who investigators believe has been brokering sex deals while living out of motels in Portland, Seattle and Spokane. Two motel rooms in Spokane were searched this week.

Read the rest of my story here.

Man stole $24k from 2 Spokane charities

A former treasurer for two Spokane charities who became involved with a cash-strapped woman he met at a spa has been ordered to repay $24,000 after pleading guilty to felony theft.

Curtis G. Wasson, 59, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree theft last week for embezzling from the North Lions Club and the Hillyard chapter of the Knights of Columbus. Along with restitution, he was credited for one day served in jail.

The North Lions Club is a non-profit group that helps people with vision or hearing impairments. Wasson had been the treasurer for at least 10 years. Group members began investigating Wasson after a donation check to a Spokane high school student who was volunteering with hurricane relief assistance bounced and the student was charged overdraft fees. Police believe Wasson stole about $18,000 from the group beginning in 2004.

Wasson also stole about $6,000 from the Knights of Columbus, a charity for the sick and disabled.

The group was due for an audit in February 2009, but Wasson, a self-employed tax accountant, delayed it, saying he was too busy. Washington Trust Bank advised group members of unusual activity in their account two months later.

Wasson wrote several unauthorized checks at grocery stores and also cashed 20 unauthorized checks between November 2008 and April 2009. He also wrote checks to Brandie Meyers, who police believe was desperate for cash to pay her child custody attorney.

Meyers told police she met Wasson while working at Suzi's Spa. She said she “provided Wasson with girls when he requested it” and that he paid her in exchange, and that he also helped her with money for her attorney.

Wasson later told police he paid Meyers for sex but that she used photographs and recordings to extort him. Records show Wasson and his wife of 27 years are divorcing.

Man robbed while looking for prostitute

A man looking for sex with a prostitute was robbed of his cash after soliciting women on East Sprague Avenue in Spokane last weekend, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Jessica N. Shelton, 22, and Joel M. Arevalo, 19, were arrested on first-degree robbery charges Saturday after Rodney G. Tongue said Arevalo attacked him after he approached Shelton and another female, whose name was not released because she is a juvenile, for sex, according to the Spokane Police Department.

Tongue said he believed the women were prostitutes, and they agreed to walk behind a dumpster at a gas station at 3602 E. Sprague to discuss “a prostitution deal,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Arevalo knocked Tongue to the ground, knocking out his hearing aid, then left with Shelton, the juvenile and Tongue's $20. Police helped Tongue find his hearing aid. Officers located the three suspects at East 3rd Avenue and South Freya Street, and Tongue identified them in photo line ups.

Arevalo told police he devised the plan to rob Tongue with Shelton and the juvenile. Shelton said Arevalo gave her the money and they bought Camel cigarettes and five cans of Blast, an alcoholic energy drink by Colt 45, which police photographed as evidence.
  

Prostitute attacked in torture chamber

SEATTLE (AP) — A text message helped save a prostitute who was chained and tortured for hours — including by electrical shock — in a room with 8-inch-thick walls, chains, ropes and paddles, police said.

Authorities allege that in addition to repeatedly shocking the 24-year-old woman, John Joseph Hauff Jr. struck her with a paddle, used a catheter to force liquid into her bladder and assaulted her with a gynecological instrument.

Hauff stopped when the woman told him that she had texted his car’s license plate number to her boyfriend before entering the man’s home, and asked him to call police if she wasn’t heard from by midnight, according to a probable cause statement.

Read the rest of the Associated Press story here.

Pimp, robbery suspect jailed in Spokane

A convicted pimp suspected of robbing nine banks in Oregon and Western Washington is in the Spokane jail.

Kevin Antoine Jones, 23, was arrested in Pullman Wednesday and appeared in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

He's awaiting transport back to Seattle. Jones is charged with four counts of bank robbery for hold ups Oct. 16 at U.S. Bank in Tukwila and Wells Fargo in Des Moines, Oct. 18 at U.S. Bank in Seattle and Oct. 19 at Chase Bank in Des Moines.

He's also suspected of robberies Nov. 5 at a U.S. Bank in Portland, and Nov. 6 at a U.S. Bank in Gresham, Bank of the West and Wells Fargo in Troutdale.

Also suspected is Isaiah Jordan Summers, who is in custody.

The two were arrested after a robbery at Columbia Bank in Milton, Wash,., on Nov. 8.

It's unclear why Jones was released from custody, but he was featured on Washington's Most Wanted Feb. 25 and 26.

A viewer's tip led to his arrest at an apartment in 1800 block of Northwest Lamont Drive in Pullman after a brief SWAT team standoff.

Jones has prior convictions for promoting prostitution and gun possession, according to Washington’s Most Wanted.

Spokane prostitute charged with perjury

A Spokane prostitute is accused of lying about her identity and fabricating testimony during a bench trial last fall.

Jodi R. Macabitas, 42, alias Jodi R. Rima, appeared in court Tuesday on charges on felony charges of first-degree perjury and false swearing.

Investigators say Macabitas identified herself as Madison McBride during a possession of stolen property trial before Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque last October.

Defendant Robert Wilkening, Jr., was acquitted after testimony that included Macabitas describing a plot between two men to falsely accuse Wilkening. Investigators believe Macabitas fabricated the story.

Deputy Prosecutor Bob Sargent said in court documents that Macabitas' testimony was “crucial to the case.”

But Wilkening's lawyer, Doug Phelps, said he doesn't believe Macabitas' was crucial to Wilkening's acquittal.

“We really didn't even need that testimony,” Phelps said. Phelps said he didn't relaize the woman had lied about her identity until Sargent told him after the trial.

Prior to testifying, Macabitas provided police a phone number that Detective David Staben says belonged to someone who claims not to know the woman. After her testimony, the man said he had a friend who matched the witness's description, leading Staben to identify Macabitas as a suspect.

Her parents described her as “a homeless person involved in the drug lifestyle,” according to a probable cause affidavit. Staben contacted Macabitas at 1st and Cowley, where she identified herself as a prostitute and “admitted that she lied about everything in court,” according to the affidavit.

Macabitas remains jailed on $2,000 bond.

Child prostitution concerns at Super Bowl

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — As thousands of football fans descend on Texas for Sunday's Super Bowl, law enforcement agencies are keeping watch for a different kind of out-of-town visitor: pimps selling children for sex.

Cities that host the big game often attract a bustling sex trade. This year, Texas authorities and advocacy groups are stepping up their anti-prostitution efforts, especially where young girls are concerned.

“Most people don't know that our children are being brutalized this way, and we have to stop it,” said Deena Graves, founder of Traffick911, a Texas organization that launched the “I'm Not Buying It” campaign for Super Bowl XLV. “We need to get mad. We need to get angry about what's happening to our kids right here.”

For weeks, volunteers have been canvassing neighborhoods in Dallas and other cities, distributing door hangars and posters with information. Others have placed coasters in restaurants and bars. Traffick911 has also made public-service announcements, some featuring current and former NFL players.

“As a man and as a father of two beautiful girls, I'm not buying it — and neither should you,” Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff says in one television ad. “If you're one of these men buying these young girls, I'm telling you that real men don't buy children. They don't buy sex.”

Pimps hawking young girls see the thousands of men who travel to the Super Bowl each year as a gold mine of potential clients. Police in and around host cities have tried for years to crack down on prostitution by conducting stings or increasing patrols during Super Bowl week. Only in recent years have underage girls come to light in increasing numbers.

“This is a very large issue. We want people to know what human trafficking looks like,” said Thomas Lawrence, an assistant Dallas police chief. Last year's Super Bowl in Miami drew as many as 10,000 prostitutes, including children and human trafficking victims, police said.

Read the rest of the story by Associated Press writer Angela K. Brown by clicking the link below.

Would-be john alleges theft by prostitute

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — A Mankato man landed in jail after calling 911 and telling police a prostitute failed to deliver on his $200 payment.

Authorities say the 26-year-old man called police from the Super 8 motel in Mankato Wednesday and told officers he agreed to pay the woman for sex, but that she took his cash without holding up her end of the deal.

Officers tracked down the woman after the man gave police a description of her vehicle. Both the man and woman found themselves behind bars in the Blue Earth County Jail.

The Free Press says that besides prostitution and disorderly conduct citations, police issued a third misdemeanor charge of doing business without a peddler's permit.

Sex offender suspected in new assault

A Spokane man on probation for sexually assaulting a woman in a church basement last year is back in jail on a new assault charge. 

Michael J. Bosch, 48, (pictured) appeared in Superior Court this week, accused of trying to sexually assault a man at a home on North Crestline Street on Dec. 29.

Bosch was to pay the man $10 to have a beer and $200 to “spend the entire night with him,” but the man became uncomfortable when Bosch began smoking crack cocaine, according to court documents. Bosch allegedly attacked the man as he tried to leave. The man hit him with a hammer to escape.

Bosch told police he was going to pay the man for sex but wasn't sure if he was a male or female.

“The defendant said he gave the person $10 to pull up her shirt in the main floor bathroom,” police wrote. “The person pulled up her shirt and had two bras on.”

But Bosch said he didn't see breasts and asked for his $10 back when the person refused to pull down his pants, which led to the alleged victim punching him, Bosch told police.

Bosch remains jailed on unlawful imprisonment and second-degree assault charges.

He's a sex offender with a previous conviction for indecent liberties for an incident at Mending Fences Ministry last February.

Bosch was convicted in July and credited for 186 days served in jail and given 12 months of probation. He isn't allowed to leave jail now because he allegedly violated probation.

AGs: CraigsList Should Drop Adult Ads

Craigslist should remove its adult services section because the website cannot adequately block potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution and child trafficking, attorneys general in 17 states demanded Tuesday in a joint letter. “Only Craigslist has the power to stop these ads before they are even published,” said Kansas attorney general Steve Six in a statement Tuesday. “Sadly, they are completely unwilling to do so.” The joint letter acknowledged Craigslist faces the prospect of losing revenue if it were to remove the adult services section/KXLY. More here.

Question: Should Craigslist remove the adult services section from its Web site in an effort to block potentially illegal ads promoting prostitution and child trafficking?

Craigslist prostitution hits Wenatchee

In a nice underscore to my story last month that explored Craigslist prostitution stings in North Idaho, the Wenatchee World reports two Seattle-area women were arrested last week for working as prostitututes out of the Cedars Inn in East Wenatchee.

The AP’s pickup of the World story identifies the women only as a 22-year-old from Burien and a 24-year-old from Seattle and says they told officers “they came to the Wenatchee area because they could make more money here.”

Must be the vacationers.

Sting targets Craigslist prostiution

Kootenai County authorities were monitoring local Craigslist postings even before Philip Markoff was charged with murder and with assaulting and robbing women he’d met through the Web site, which offers free classified ads.

Their effort highlights a sex market that thrives online and exists all over the United States, from glitzy East Coast cities to seeminly sleepy North Idaho towns.

Read my story here.

Quotable Quote: Palouse Prostitution

“To be honest with you, we live in a university town and most people give it away for free. There isn’t a market” — Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant re: Lewiston Tribune story re: possible prostitution being advertised on CraigsList on the Palouse. Story here.

Question: Bent thought the comment by Commander Tennant was “stupid.” Sisyphus found it “refreshingly honest.” What do you think?