Just two days ago Lawrence, Massachusetts Police responded to a call at a rooming house on South Union Street. They arrived to find a thirty three year old woman they knew to be a prostitute complaining that she had been strangled and harassed by a man. The man, Richard Croteau was still at the scene when the police arrived. Croteau told the police that the woman had stolen money from him. The police interviewed some witnesses. One claimed to have heard Croteau threaten to “bash” the woman’s head in. Another witness supposedly saw Croteau grab the woman by the neck. Croteau was charged with Assault with the Intent to Commit Murder and Threatening to Commit a Crime. The case is being prosecuted in the Lawrence District Court.
Any Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer will tell you that stories like this one are common in the Massachusetts district courts, especially those courts in cities such as Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn and Brockton. It is true and unfortunate that prostitutes get robbed and beaten. However, it is also true that they frequently do the robbing. They then preempt any retributive efforts by making false claims about being robbed and beaten. This permits these women to retain the fruits of their crimes. I cannot count the number of times I have had clients complain to me that they were robbed by the prostitute they were engaged with and ended up arrested and in court to defend a dubious accusation. There is usually good news for the men who stand in Mr. Croteau’s shoes. These women have no interest in appearing in court and cooperating with law enforcement personnel. After all, why would they? They got what they wanted. Money. Oftentimes they are able to do this without performing their marketed sexual services. In twenty four years of practice I cannot remember a time when a prostitute appeared in court to testify for the prosecution on a case like this one.
These stories can stimulate conversation about the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution in the United States. Currently, only one state permits Prostitution, Nevada. There, prostitution is legal in eight counties, not the entire state. It is illegal in Las Vegas notwithstanding the prevalence of sexual attractions and stimulations in that city. Rhode Island permitted prostitution until 2009. In Louisiana convicted prostitutes must register as sex offenders. The prostitution industry nationwide is estimated to generate fourteen billion dollars annually. Proponent of legalized prostitution argue among other things that regulating this trade will provide tax revenue to municipalities and states, control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and prevent crimes such as the ones for which Croteau is being charged in this case.
Attorney Stephen Neyman is a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer. His office defends the accused throughout Massachusetts and in many other states. Our office can be reached at all times by calling 617-263-6800. You can also email us with any questions. We are committed to defending you no matter what crime has been charged.