Two days ago police in Taunton, Massachusetts were involved in an anti-prostitution operation. Acting in an undercover capacity one of the involved officers made eye contact with a woman. He then pulled into a parking lot to meet up with the woman. She walked up to his car and “asked if he wanted a date”. A fee of thirty dollars was negotiated. This resulted in the woman, Erica Jeremiah being arrested. She was charged with Sex for a Fee. In another incident officers went to investigate a complaint of a sexual nature. They met with a women, Lisa Marie Her. She claimed that a cab driver pressured her to perform oral sex on him in order to forgive an owed fare. Officers met with the cab driver, seventy six year old Robert Ferreira. Ferreira admitted to being engaging in two such incidents, one with Her, the other with Suzanne Charland however he denied pressuring the women. Ferreira told the police that in addition to forgiving the fares he paid an additional twenty dollars to each woman. Ferreira told the police that he and Charland had this arrangement for the past two years. Ferreira, Her and Charland were all charged with Sex for a Fee. All matters are pending in the Taunton District Court.
The law prohibiting this conduct and presumably with which all defendants have been charged is Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Section 53A. The first section of that law states that anyone agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by up to one year in jail. There is no need to actually engage in a sexual act to be in violation of this law. The next section of that law makes it illegal to pay for sex or offer to pay for sex. A conviction of this portion of the statute provides for a two year sentence.
So, as an Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer here is how I see these cases. Depending on her record Jeremiah may end up with anything from a dismissal to a conviction with the possibilities of pretrial probation and a continuance without a finding quite likely. She has to overcome the testimony of a police officer who will testify that she was seeking money in exchange for sexual services. The other cases are much different. Neither Her, nor Charland nor Ferreira were caught in the act. Admissions to the commission of crimes absent some sort of corroboration do not provide enough evidence for a conviction to stand. It was really silly for Her to call the police if in fact she had been engaging in the acts as suggested by Ferreira. Similarly, it was unnecessary for him to have spoken with the police. However, both now have Fifth Amendment privileges that will further frustrate efforts to convict them. And it seems like Charland has no problems at all. Ferreira will not testify against her and she was not caught engaging in criminal activity.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, PC defends Sex Crimes in Massachusetts including Prostitution and Sexual Conduct for a Fee. If you are arrested or summonsed to court you need a lawyer. Call us at 617-263-6800 or send us an email. We can help you defend your case.