Promoting prostitution and prostitution in general have been in the news a lot lately. A Zumba instructor is accused of engaging in prostitution amongst other charges at her studio. A Thomaston business man is accused of promoting prostitution amongst other charges. About 120 individuals have been charged with engaging the Zumba teacher for sex in exchange for money.
What are all these different types of prostitution? In the simplest form it is as follows:
-The “pimp” promotes prostitution;
-The “hooker”, “call girl” or “prostitute” engages in prostitution;
-The “john” hires the prostitute (engages a prostitute);
Now, let's dive into the legalese of prostitution. The prostitution laws can be found in Title 17-A, Chapter 35 (sections 851-855). Maine's prostitution laws are divided into Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution, Promotion of Prostitution, Engaging in Prostitution, Engaging a Prostitute, Indecent Conduct, and Patronizing Prostitution of Minor. For purposes of the post I am not reviewing indecent conduct or patronizing prostitution of a minor.
Here is the legalese definitions of prostitution:
-“Prostitution” means engaging in, or agreeing to engage in, or offering to engage in a sexual act or sexual contact in return for a pecuniary benefit (typically money) to be received by the person engaging in prostitution or a 3rd person. This is the "hooker".
-"Engages a prostitute" means providing or agreeing to provide, either to the person whose prostitution is sought or to a 3rd person, pecuniary benefit in return for a sexual act or sexual contact. This the "john".
-"Promotes prostitution" means:
(1) Causing or aiding another to commit or engage in prostitution, other than as a patron;
(2) Publicly soliciting patrons for prostitution. Publicly soliciting patrons for prostitution includes, but is not limited to, an offer, made in a public place, to engage in a sexual act or sexual contact, as those terms are defined in section 251, in return for a pecuniary benefit to be received by the person making the offer or a 3rd person;
(3) Providing persons for purposes of prostitution;
(4) Leasing or otherwise permitting a place controlled by the defendant, alone or in association with others, to be regularly used for prostitution;
(5) Owning, controlling, managing, supervising or otherwise operating, in association with others, a house of prostitution or a prostitution business;
(6) Transporting a person into or within the State with the intent that such other person engage in prostitution; or
(7) Accepting or receiving, or agreeing to accept or receive, a pecuniary benefit pursuant to an agreement or understanding with any person, other than with a patron, whereby the person participates or the person is to participate in the proceeds of prostitution.
-This is the "pimp".
-"Sexual act" means:
(1) Any act between 2 persons involving direct physical contact between the genitals of one and the mouth or anus of the other, or direct physical contact between the genitals of one and the genitals of the other;
(2) Any act between a person and an animal being used by another person which act involves direct physical contact between the genitals of one and the mouth or anus of the other, or direct physical contact between the genitals of one and the genitals of the other; or
(3) Any act involving direct physical contact between the genitals or anus of one and an instrument or device manipulated by another person when that act is done for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire or for the purpose of causing bodily injury or offensive physical contact.
-"Sexual contact" means any touching of the genitals or anus, directly or through clothing, other than as would constitute a sexual act, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire or for the purpose of causing bodily injury or offensive physical contact.
Promotion of prostitution involves the classic understanding of a "pimp". There are two types of Promotion of Prostitution - (1) Aggravated and (2) Non-Aggravated. Promotion of Prostitution becomes Aggravated if the pimps compels a person to enter into, engage in, or remain in prostitution or the pimp promotes prostitution of a person less than 18 years of age. Compulsion in the context of prostitution means the use of drugs or intoxicating substance to render a person incapable of controlling their conduct or appreciating its nature or withholding or threatening to withhold a narcotic drug or alcoholic liquor from a drug or alcohol-dependent person. A "drug or alcohol-dependent person" is one who is using narcotic drugs or alcoholic liquor and who is in a state of psychic or physical dependence or both, arising from the use of the drug or alcohol on a continuing basis.
Promotion of Prostitution is a Class D misdemeanor. It is punishable by a maximum sentence of 364 days in custody and a maximum fine of $2,000 plus surcharges. Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution is a Class B felony. It is punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years in custody, a fine of $20,000 plus surcharges, and/or 3 years of probation.
A person who engages in prostitution is typically called the prostitute. This is the person who receives the money in exchange for performing the sexual act. Engaging in Prostitution is a Class E misdemeanor that carries a maximum possible sentence of 6 months in custody and/or a $1,000 fine plus surcharges. However, if a person has a prior engaging in prostitution conviction then it is a Class D misdemeanor. Again, a Class D misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of 364 days in custody and a maximum fine of $2,000 plus surcharges.
A person who engages a prostitute is typically called the john. Engaging a prostitution is a Class E misdemeanor. Typically, a Class E misdemeanor carries a maximum possible sentence of 6 months in jail. However, our legislators decided that engaging a prostitution can only be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 plus surcharges. However, if the john has a prior conviction for engaging in a prostitute that does not predate the new allegation by more than two years then the john can be charged with a Class D misdemeanor.
If you find yourself being in the unfortunate position of being accused of being a john related to the Zumba case call my office today. I currently represent some of the johns and feel there is a valid defense to the cases I have and potentially to your case. My office number is 699-1315.