There’s an interesting case making its way through the Maine judicial system. A young woman named Alexis Wright and her partner, Mark Strong, are accused of running a prostitution ring through a Zumba studio. The reason it is big news is that Wright video-taped some encounters and kept excellent records.
The controversy is that the names of the men who used the service are possibly going to be made public. Apparently the men on the list make up a high-profile segment of the population of Kennebunk, Maine. They are fighting to make sure their names are not revealed as it will damage their reputation and hurt innocent people (their families). They argue this “list of shame” unfairly lists men who have not been convicted of a crime.
I find the case interesting for several reasons. I’m skeptical that prostitution should be illegal in the first place, fodder for another blog. The main reason I’m intrigued is the idea that somehow the people who hired the woman are thought to be entitled to privacy protection when they are accused of a crime. When anyone is accused of a crime, except juveniles, their name is released to the public.
The men who used the service are claiming that such an accusation will ruin their family dynamic and their reputation in the community. Their children will be subject to schoolyard bullying, their wives subject to vicious gossip, etc.
The idea that prostitution is a victimless crime is fairly reasonable. Certainly it is two adults who willingly engage in a contract and neither is a victim. There are victims, namely the families of both parties, but the reality is that we have little or no control of anyone else and if a relative chooses to behave shamefully there’s not much we can do about it.
My conclusion is that there should be no legal difference between a prostitute, a madam, or a client. If I get a traffic ticket that’s a matter of public record. If I choose to visit a woman for sexual favors, and it is regarded as a crime, then I should expect to have my name released.
As a Libertarian I find that the mantra of personal responsibility that dominates political talk is just that these days … talk. I’ve found that those who talk about personal responsibility the most seem to be the ones who practice it the least. Not a surprise there.
What do you think?
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