Former Governor Eliot Spitzer will not be charged in connection with his involvement as a customer with a prostitution ring. I’m shocked. Aren’t you shocked?
“After a thorough investigation, this office has uncovered no evidence of misuse of public or campaign funds,” U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said in a statement.
The attorney’s office also said it found no illicit activity related to Spitzer’s withdrawal of funds for, and his payments to, the Emperors Club VIP, which authorities have said was a prostitution ring.
“In light of the policy of the Department of Justice with respect to prostitution offenses and the longstanding practice of this office, as well as Mr. Spitzer’s acceptance of responsibility for his conduct, we have concluded that the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter,” Garcia said.
Right, because that’s how we often treat the women who work as prostitutes, isn’t it? They accept “responsibility” and law enforcement decides to just let it go, because how does it serve the public interest to prosecute women and humiliate them openly in a society that condemns their work, especially when they’re very often only doing the job because they’re desperate for money, or have even been forced or coerced?
There’s nothing to be surprised about here, and not just because Eliot Spitzer used to be governor. It’s because, as this NYT article notes, clients are rarely prosecuted:
Patricia A. Pileggi, who once prosecuted public corruption cases in Brooklyn, agreed with Mr. Garcia that the federal government does not, as a general rule, prosecute johns in prostitution cases. She said that she once represented a madam in a criminal case and recalled that the clients in the matter were never charged, despite there being evidence to do so.
“What I’m seeing,” Ms. Pileggi said, referring to Mr. Garcia’s decision, “is completely consistent with how they’ve handled other matters.”
And that’s precisely the problem.
As you may know, I support decriminalization of prostitution. But if we’re going to prosecute those involved with it — which I unfortunately think we will for some time — there is absolutely no non-misogynistic excuse to not charge the clients. Not prosecuting the clients indicates that selling sex is morally repugnant, but buying it is not. It indicates that there is something repulsive and wrong about women having sex with many men for a fee, but not about men paying many women fees for that sex. It says that there is something that needs to be condemned and punished about female sexuality, and in fact female survival, but male sexuality and exploitation ought to just be shrugged off as “boys will be boys.” And it sure as hell doesn’t do a damn bit of good to help those women who we pretend to be so concerned about.
The good news is that it looks like “Kristen” and the other women who were selling sex for the Emporers Club have not been prosecuted. Those who ran the business, however, have been. And again, there is no excuse for punishing those who ensure that there is a supply but not those who create the demand. There are laws under which to prosecute Spitzer, and they’re the same laws that he wouldn’t have hesitated to use against the same women he hired back when he was Attorney General. And I’m sick of the excuses.