Community upset at gay porn shops sting
Arrests for prostitution being used to shut these venues, critics say
by patrick arden / metro new york
FEB 3, 2009
Manhattan’s gay community has reacted angrily to a spate of prostitution arrests in adult video stores, alleging police have targeted innocent people.
“These are false arrests,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn yesterday.
The allegations started with the October arrest of Robert Pinter, 53, at the Blue Door Video store in the East Village.
“I was approached by a handsome Asian guy who was about half my age,” Pinter recalled. “He asked whether I wanted to have sex. ... On the way out, he very suddenly said to me, ‘Oh, I want to pay you $50.’”
Pinter considered going home but then was rushed by undercover cops. “I thought I was being robbed,” he said.
Gay City News reporter Duncan Osborne detected a pattern. In six porn shops, he said, police arrested 27 men for prostitution, double the number of similar arrests over the previous four years. These arrests were later cited in city lawsuits aimed at closing the shops.
Of the 12 men arrested at the Blue Door in 2008, “two-thirds were 42 or older,” Osborne said. “In all of Manhattan South, just 17 percent of the men busted for prostitution in 2008 were 40 or older. You can’t call that random.”
The NYPD said the arrests came after “repeated complaints” about certain locations.