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Remind me never to cruise for hookers in St. Paul.
June 12, 2001 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Remind me never to cruise for hookers in St. Paul. How's this for a deterrent? Updated weekly.
posted by BoatMeme (55 comments total)

 
Hmm.. that first guy looks creepy, very creepy, like he's crying. Notice their vehicles, what kind of a person goes out for hookers on a bike? I can see that happening.

Man rides up on a Huffy® Girls' Stone Mountain Bike

- How much?
- Ten Dollah!
- Ten Dollah too boucoup!
- But me love you long, long time! - Me so ho--h-ny!

Alright, but you have to sit on the bars and don't block my view because the tires are kinda deflated and the back brakes don't work, so when I stop, it's very sudden.

- It hurts!
- Damn K-mart didn't put the rubber handle things with the package! Just sit tight.
posted by tiaka at 10:37 AM on June 12, 2001


Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown, Frogtown.
posted by rodii at 10:40 AM on June 12, 2001


After seeing the pictures of the hookers, I cannot see why anyone would go cruising in St. Paul.
posted by Starchile at 10:44 AM on June 12, 2001


WTF? Some of these guys haven't even been convicted yet?
posted by kindall at 10:45 AM on June 12, 2001


That's... so... wrong. Do they offer any argument for why a website like this is a good idea? And for why it's okay to include photos of innocent people?

And more importantly--shouldn't Tuesday be Ice Cream Day?
posted by moss at 10:46 AM on June 12, 2001


Frogtown is located about two miles from the State Capitol. Can't be the best area to go out looking for a good time.
posted by emoeby at 10:50 AM on June 12, 2001


Pappa?
posted by dong_resin at 10:51 AM on June 12, 2001


It strikes me as extremely messed up that these photos should be posted before any trial ever happens. Man, that's *asking* for a lawsuit. And even though I'm ordinarily unfond of the American habit of settling all disputes via the legal system... in truth I'd love to see one of these people be tried and found not guilty, then turn around and sue like hell.

On the other hand: you've gotta love any webpage that has a link reading "Prostitution Menu". Fries with that?
posted by Sapphireblue at 10:54 AM on June 12, 2001


Arrests are public record. You can't sue someone for publishing information that is in the public record. There is a disclaimer at the top that all persons are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and the "Convicted" notice at the bottom of some of the makes it easy to tell the difference between them and the accused. I can't see why any court would have a problem with this.
posted by Dreama at 10:58 AM on June 12, 2001


Seeing the Johns reminds me why I NEVER want to be a hooker.

I have to admit, I love the fact that it has a "prostitution menu" at the bottom of the site. That's just a riot.

Shame may be a good reason to put convicted people on the site. It will keep BoatMeMe from getting a hooker in St. Paul, right? It works!

But not-yet convicted people? That's just cruel. It is a part of the public record, but this is clearly done as a sort of punshment.

The internet is the new town center and such sites are the stocks that hold prisoners to be mocked and spat at.
posted by indigo at 10:58 AM on June 12, 2001


Arrests are public record, sure. But are people's photographs? Apparently St. Paul thinks so but I'd surely hope the hell not. It goes too far.
posted by Sapphireblue at 11:01 AM on June 12, 2001


What are they going to sue for? It's standard practice to release the names of people who have been arrested and even show pictures of them before they are tried (I'm sure everyone knew what Timothy McVeigh looked like before he was convicted). Besides, I bet it's hard to beat a charge of solicitation if you just tried to pick up an undercover cop.
posted by CRS at 11:03 AM on June 12, 2001


Anyone care to consider the point that prostitution should be legalized?

People want to have sex, and for a variety of reasons are even willing to pay for it. Other people are willing to offer themselves in exchange for said payment, and everyone's happy and satiated in the end. There of course, are many trappings associated with prostitution, but the fact is, the oldest profession isn't going away anytime soon. All the public shaming in the world won't stop it.

I'm surprised that a midwestern town like St. Paul would support a rights violation like running this site, or concern themselves with getting into everyone's business. If someone is paying someone to get them off in a bad part of town, how does that affect you, and/or why should you even care? For the conservative members reading this, why do you think this site is a good idea? Is it a smaller government thing to do, or something that's invasive, or does it just not matter and it's a moral issue instead?

And another thing, does anyone here feel superior and good about themselves because they're not as desperate and ugly as the people caught on this page? Is that the point of the site?

There's always going to be a part of society that isn't emotionally mature or intelligent enough to do things like have "normal" relationships with others, but they still have sexual urges, and sometimes they do things like visit prostitutes. Who gets hurt here?

Because I couldn't care less about what people do with their money or their bodies.
posted by mathowie at 11:07 AM on June 12, 2001


What's next? Pictures from street-mounted video-cams with captions like "May be guilty of shoplifting?"
posted by Twang at 11:10 AM on June 12, 2001


Twang, there's a big difference between that and a photo of someone who has been arrested and charged.

As to the legitimacy of publishing the photos, that's part of the public record as well. The mug shot is intended for identification purposes and has uses beyond an alleged criminal's "personal" record.

Besides, how many Ron Johannsens do you think there are in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area? If I were one of them other than the one with the big convicted sticker under his face, I'd be awfully glad that there was some public record that clearly demonstrated that I wasn't the one arrested while trolling for cheap street whores.
posted by Dreama at 11:17 AM on June 12, 2001


There is a great book of photographs by Wing Young Huie called "My Frogtown" which I couldn't find a good link for, but if you ever see it buy it, it's the kind of photo book that gets better as time passes and you can contrast the frogtown of 1991-1995 with the present. But right now it is a low income neighborhood with a high proportion of recent immigrants, it borders on downtown and the state capital area.
posted by chrismc at 11:22 AM on June 12, 2001


Dreama, why stop there? Why not publicize anyone that's been accussed or arrested for child molestation? How about drug use? Why not shoplifting too? How about assualt?
posted by mathowie at 11:30 AM on June 12, 2001


But what would Garrison Keillor think?
posted by briank at 11:33 AM on June 12, 2001


Hmm.. isn't prostitution legal in Las Vegas though?
posted by tiaka at 11:37 AM on June 12, 2001


Besides, how many Ron Johannsens do you think there are in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area?

Dreama, nobody would remember that it was "Ron Johannsen" if it was just a matter of looking at a person's name. However, human beings are hard-wired to remember faces; how many times have you run into somebody that you recognize but can't name? By placing pictures on the website of all those that are arrested, regardless of guilt, the city has essentially branded a scarlet "P" on each of their foreheads in a way that isn't possible with mere names. Your suggestion that placing pictures with names to protect folks with the same name could just as easily be accomplished with a description (5'11", 165 lbs., 28 yr. old male).
posted by Avogadro at 11:38 AM on June 12, 2001


It seems they've been posting the pictures since 1997. At first they didn't follow up on the eventual disposition of the case. The issue of lawsuits was raised when this program started. You'd think four years would be long enough to have seen a lawsuit by now.

You also have the opportunity to attend john school in St. Paul.
posted by noether at 11:56 AM on June 12, 2001



After seeing the pictures of the hookers, I cannot see why anyone would go cruising in St. Paul.


There are some things even a mistress won't do....
posted by electro at 12:10 PM on June 12, 2001



Prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas itself but in two or three counties in Nevada it is legal and regulated.
posted by norm at 12:35 PM on June 12, 2001


Frogtown is located about two miles from the State Capitol. Can't be the best area to go out looking for a good time.

In Denver, you would have no problem soliciting sex a mere 3 blocks from the State Capitol.
posted by BoatMeme at 12:37 PM on June 12, 2001


Dreama, why stop there? Why not publicize anyone that's been accussed or arrested for child molestation? How about drug use? Why not shoplifting too? How about assualt?

They regularly do. Do you watch your local news? Do you read your local papers? There may not be websites up with hit parades of accused molestors, but they are certainly publicised.

Dreama, nobody would remember that it was "Ron Johannsen" if it was just a matter of looking at a person's name.

That wasn't my point. If you heard that Ron Johannsen was arrested for soliciting, and wondered if it was the Ron Johannsen that you knew as a friend of a friend from over in St. Paul, a glance at the picture would tell you whether it was or wasn't.
posted by Dreama at 12:46 PM on June 12, 2001


a glance at the picture would tell you whether it was or wasn't

That's why I said a description would serve the same purpose without retina-burning the faces of the accused. You would still know whether it was the Ron you know or some other guy, without the side-affect of making the arrested public pariahs.
posted by Avogadro at 12:52 PM on June 12, 2001


I'm surprised that a midwestern town like St. Paul would support a rights violation like running this site, or concern themselves with getting into everyone's business.

This is Minnesota. No one here minds their own business, especially if they're in government. Just try buying alcohol on Sunday.
posted by mrbula at 1:05 PM on June 12, 2001


And don't those guys know any better than to allow themselves to be photographed?!?!? Don't they know cameras can steal your soul???
posted by prototype_octavius at 1:10 PM on June 12, 2001


So the point of this site is to basically point out that ugly people sell their bodies and that, if you're convicted of prostitution, a reasonable right to privacy before you are convicted is effectively waived. Yup, sounds like the United States to me. The former part certainly isn't news; the latter part isn't either. But, overall, this site drastically offends me.

I find it fascinating that any city government would willingly post photos of people who commit trifling crimes that essentially involve a transaction for services rendered that satisfy lust (a basic human condition) and that in the end really don't hurt anyone (provided of course no sexual diseases were transmitted), and yet refrain from posting photos of robber barons and corporate tycoons who have yet to be found guilty for their actions.

If you're a white-collar criminal, there'd be no questions if the criminal in question went ahead and sued the city for libel. But if you're a blue-collar criminal, it appears you're presumed guilty.
posted by ed at 1:24 PM on June 12, 2001


Frogtown's the neigborhood that both my parents grew up in. It's seen better days, but it still holds a lot of memories for them. If you know Twin Cities suburbs, you'll notice that many of the johns are from well-to-do suburbs -- Edina, Woodbury, Wayzata. My guess is that there are some pretty shocked suburban soccer moms out there.
posted by GaelFC at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2001


These pictures are clearly posted as a deterrent. Don't solicite prostitutes, or you'll be shamed by having your picture placed in public. That's why its so disturbing that these people haven't been convicted. They're making an example of people who haven't been convicted of any crime.
posted by Doug at 2:16 PM on June 12, 2001


You also have the opportunity to attend john school in St. Paul.

Reminds me of one of my favourite comics...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 2:21 PM on June 12, 2001


Anyone care to consider the point that prostitution should be legalized?

I'm with Matt on this. If prostitution was treated everywhere the way it is in the counties in Nevada where it's legal, everyone would be better off.

Stay with me here.

In Nevada (again, in the counties where it's legal), the prostitutes are frequently tested for HIV and other STDs and if they're "clean," they get a license. Condom usage is mandatory. They work in safe, clean environments. Although they must give a cut to the house where they work, it's a reasonable amount -- there aren't any pimps taking all their money. Very few of these "working girls" have drug problems.

I'm not sure what the current statistic is, but about ten years ago when I was taking criminology classes in college, the vast majority of the women going through the criminal justice system were there because of prostitution. Think of the tax dollars it would save to eliminate all those court hearings (hell, think of the tax dollars states would MAKE if they were able to tax prostitution). Think of the manpower police forces could direct elsewhere. Think of the jail space it would clear out for real criminals.

It's just silly to keep prostitution illegal. There's a reason it's the world's oldest profession -- because there's always been a demand for it, and there always will be.
posted by shauna at 2:54 PM on June 12, 2001


I'm all for legalizing prostitution, get the kids out of it, make sure the workers are "clean", get some nice tax revenue out of it.
posted by owillis at 3:34 PM on June 12, 2001


And while we're at it, why not legalize drugs in one fell swoop? That's a surefire way of generating some revenue to pay off the national debt.
posted by ed at 3:46 PM on June 12, 2001


You guys are missing the obvious! Look at the last guy's photo. He's nonplussed by the whole thing. What cajones, what confidence he exudes! He seems to be saying, "Yes, I've been with a ten dollar crack whore, and it was a fun, worthwhile slice of life. Next week, I'll be mainlining heroin. Just for the experience!"
posted by girard31 at 3:51 PM on June 12, 2001


Ed, is your last name Anger?
posted by rodii at 4:12 PM on June 12, 2001


mathowie: "Anyone care to consider the point that prostitution should be legalized?"

I'm with George Carlin on that one. Paraphrasing, "Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn't *selling* *fucking* legal?"

moss: "And more importantly--shouldn't Tuesday be Ice Cream Day?"

I had ice cream for lunch.
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:17 PM on June 12, 2001


the dodge seems popular with the St. Paul cruising society. Nice and roomy. Can i say cruising or will someone sue me for gay references.
posted by clavdivs at 5:32 PM on June 12, 2001


noether is correct: This has been around for over three years. In fact, the first lawsuit was filed November 1997. Other local jurisdictions are publishing embarrassing situations online, such as seriously overdue library fines or delinquent taxes. (Tax liens are pretty much always available to anyone willing to make the trip to the county courthouse, but the web just makes it easy.)
posted by dhartung at 5:37 PM on June 12, 2001


The issue with street prostitution is the perception that it reduces the quality of life in the neighborhood for everyone, by having people cruise around at all times of the day and night, by being thought of as a prostitute just because you're female and walking around in the neighborhood, by encouraging other types of criminal activity...

Matt, some of us have to live in the "bad part of town"--I don't, but I used to (well, not Frogtown, but what they're now calling the "Summit-University" neighborhood, and it's no fun having drug dealers on the corner.)
posted by Electric Elf at 5:47 PM on June 12, 2001


Incongruence: visit the website and read this quote from the article dhartung linked:

"According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, when the prostitute arrest site launched, police soon realized that one of the men listed also had only been convicted of soliciting a prostitute. The photo was quickly removed, as it did not meet the department's criteria for posting. As a result, the Tribune reported, three officers who worked on the site were reassigned after the error was discovered."

What does that mean? Was the original intent only to post pictures of prostitutes and pimps but not johns? Do they post pictures of those arrested or only of those convicted?

Earlier this evening I decided to see if "email prostitution or vice related questions or comments" would answer my questions. I'll let y'all know if I hear anything.

DiplomaticImmunity: loved the cartoon
posted by noether at 6:17 PM on June 12, 2001


Does anyone find it a little wonky that if you pay someone to have sex with you, it's prostitution and illegal. But if you video tape it and distribute it, there's no problem.
posted by owillis at 6:37 PM on June 12, 2001


Moralism is to logic as oil is to...
posted by john at 7:22 PM on June 12, 2001


...ice cream?
posted by jennyb at 8:07 PM on June 12, 2001



We had a horrific public policy decision here in Richmond, VA that was quickly overturned. The police department was sending postcards to the houses of ACCUSED sex crimes offenders recommending that they and their families get tested for HIV. Talk about guilty before proven innocent, and government meddling in one's privacy

posted by machaus at 9:06 PM on June 12, 2001


Is there a link somewhere on the 'Net that objectively outlines both the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution? Not from a religious point of view and not from a... uhm.. ANTI-religious point of view, for lack of a better term. Just some place out there where some respectable individual or organization has done a cautious and comprehensive exploration of the topic. Anyone have any links? And please don't link to porn sites. I check MeFi at work.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:42 AM on June 13, 2001


Does anyone find it a little wonky that if you pay someone to have sex with you, it's prostitution and illegal. But if you video tape it and distribute it, there's no problem.


The payments are for the rights to distribute what was filmed. The actions taking place on the tape are suppodidly free. Ahem.

Regarding the prostitution issue, I'm with Matt 100%. The criminalization of prostitution is no different than sodomy laws or prohibiting alcohol purchases on Sunday (welcome to GA). They exist only as a method for the government to regulate morality. And this site exists as a way to shame people whose morals differ from the city's.
posted by goto11 at 6:44 AM on June 13, 2001


matt said: There's always going to be a part of society that isn't emotionally mature or intelligent enough to do things like have "normal" relationships with others

And not just that.. there's always going to be a part of society that doesn't want to get into relationships anyway. Going to a prostitute would, to them, seem to be more 'proper' than picking up a chick at the club just to dump her the next day.

Personally, I couldn't even imagine going to a prostitute.. eww, imagine the hygiene.. but for others, why not! Might stop some people going out and raping others.

matt: And another thing, does anyone here feel superior and good about themselves because they're not as desperate and ugly as the people caught on this page?

Hey, I might be as ugly, but definitely not desperate *g* Personally, I feel sorry for these guys, being humiliated in public like that. Infact, in my local newspaper, they publish the HOME ADDRESSES of people caught for crimes locally. How disgusting is that?
posted by wackybrit at 7:34 AM on June 13, 2001


Electric Elf: there are certainly disadvantages to street prostitution! But is it utterly clear that our current prostitution laws improve the situation (rather than, say, causing it in the first place)?

I don't know of a single page that addresses both the pros and cons of the issue (sounds like an opportunity!). For a whole bunch of (mostly pro-legalization) links, see the Prostitutes Education Network.
posted by davidchess at 8:30 AM on June 13, 2001


Hrm...legalization aside(as most of us have a little libertarian streak that says it makes sense), there is the question of is shame an appropriate way to enforce the law?

Is the scarlet letter a good way to get people to conform to your society? Does anyone here approve of scarlet letter style punishment?

Does it actually work, or does it just drive illegal/socially unacceptable behavior underground in a very unhealthy manner?
posted by indigo at 10:00 AM on June 13, 2001


UPDATE: Check out The Smoking Gun!, they've put up a bunch of hilarious inquiries involving some of these people!
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 12:04 PM on June 13, 2001


There's a reason it's the world's oldest profession -- because there's always been a demand for it, and there always will be.

Legalizing prostitution would drastically reduce the demand for it. Many of the people who partake of the whorey goods do so because they get off on the fact that it's illegal. It's like bungie jumping from public bridges or sneaking into bars when you're under 21: it's more "fun" because it's a crime.

I can't believe some of you people are of the opinion that it's morally or ethically acceptable to visit a prostitute, yet (despite the fact that it is legal and in the public record) reprehensible to post the names and photographs of those arrested for such acts.

Posting an arrest record doesn't destroy lives, marriages, and families; soliciting prostitution does. This is just another case of Americans' unwillingness to accept responsibility for their own fucking actions.
posted by Danelope at 6:17 PM on June 13, 2001


But don't you think illegal prostitution does the same thing? It's just a way of the government "protecting" you from the wrath of your family and society. Remember, if no money changes hands the exact same activity is perfectly legal. And wouldn't lowering the demand for prostitution be a good thing, as opposed to punishing "thought" or "intent"?
posted by owillis at 7:39 PM on June 13, 2001


Okay here's my situation: I'm divorced, and not due at all to prostitution by the way. I'm proud to say I destroyed my own marriage all by myself. Well, okay I did have help - my ex-wife. But my point is, prostitution didn't destroy anything in my life.

And I personally have come to the conclusion that all things being equal, I am incompetent in relationships. I really suck. No doubt that comes as no suprise to any of you. Some people think I suck online. That's nothin' compared to me offline, trust me. All ya have to do is mention politics or religion and then I just start playing Devil's Advocate. Drives women nuts. We Aquarians like long late-night debates about nothing important. So I don't need to pay for sex. I need to find a woman I can pay to have a meaningful relationship with. I think money'd be the only way to keep one around.

Now my question is: is that illegal? I mean I'm assuming or at least I'd be hopeful that eventually sex would come into play somewhere..

..first I'd need to be able to afford to pay for a meaningful relationship. What would be the payscale rate?
posted by ZachsMind at 6:39 AM on June 14, 2001


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