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Jeffery Hurrant, ex-CEO of male escort service website, Rentboy.com, gets 6 months prison for promoting prostitution on his ‘internet brothel’

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Ex-CEO of male escort service website gets 6 months prison
Jeffrey Hurant, 52, former CEO of a once-popular male escort service website  pled guilty last year to promoting prostitution
Hurant’s site Rentboy.com used to run explicit ads featuring nude photos, listings of physical attributes, including pricing options ranging from $150 an hour to $3,500 for a weekend.
He was sentenced to six months in prison by a judge who said it was necessary to send a deterrent message even though she knows the business did good things for people 
Hurant who made an estimated $10 million from two decades of running the website, was also ordered to pay a fine of $75,000
Jeffrey Hurant 1Jeffrey Hurant, right, leaves Federal court, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Hurant, the former CEO of a once-popular male escort service website, Rentboy pled guilty last year to promoting prostitution has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Seemingly unfazed by his situation, a defiant Jeffrey Hurant, former CEO of a once-popular male escort service website was sentenced to six months in prison Wednesday by a judge who said she wanted to send a deterrent message even though she knows the business helped people.
Jeffrey Hurant, who ran the Rentboy.com site, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Margo K. Brodie in Brooklyn. He pled guilty last year to promoting prostitution,
“The very thing that is illegal, there is no question it did a lot of good,” Brodie said of the website as she also announced a $7,500 fine.
“Almost two decades of committing a crime. That can’t go unpunished.”

rentaboy-founder-jeff-hurant3Rentboy.com was cited as attempting to present a veneer of legality, when in fact it was an Internet brothel

Hurant defended the business he said he ran openly for 20 years, saying many sex workers had told him that the website enabled them to work safely and independently after years of laboring in deplorable conditions.
“I disagree with the law I violated. I am obliged to follow it,” he said. “My company mitigated many of the dangers of sex work.”
Related stories:
Jeffrey Hurant, Founder of gay escort website Rentboy.com cops to promoting prostitution, faces up to five years in prison, $10 Million fine

Jeffrey Hurant, center, is hugged by a reporters as he leaves Federal courtJeffrey Hurant, center, is hugged by a reporter as he leaves Federal court, Wednesday. The presiding Judge said it was necessary to send a deterrent message even though she knows the business did good things for people.

Prosecutors were seeking at least a short prison term to deter operators of other escort services from similar misconduct, while his lawyers argued he deserves probation.
In letters to the court, lawmakers, civil rights organizations and other supporters cautioned that a tough sentence could send the wrong message to the gay community.
The case is troubling “because it harkens back to a dark chapter in our nation’s history when the government used its vast resources to target and threaten LGBT adults by exposing their private consensual sexual activity,” for New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman.

rentboy_montage image.jpgThe website featured explicit adverts

Five New York City council members from the LGBT community also signed a letter arguing that “a harsh sentence will serve neither society nor the rehabilitation of Mr. Hurant.” Other letters written last year by two Democratic congressmen from New York, Jerrold Nadler and Sean Patrick Maloney, to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security questioned whether the agencies had wasted time and resources on pursuing a victimless crime.

Jeffrey Hurant 3Jeffrey Hurant, center, addresses the media as he leaves Federal court, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017

Before authorities arrested Hurant and seized the Rentboy site, it had thousands of advertisers paying up to $300 a month, 500,000 visitors a day and revenues of $10 million in the past five years. The business hosted parties and an annual awards show for escorts called the Hookies.
Prosecutors had alleged that Rentboy was the equivalent of an online brothel, and what the site called escorts was actually prostitutes. They said proof was in explicit ads featuring nude photos, listings of all manner of physical attributes and pricing options ranging from $150 an hour to $3,500 for a weekend.
Homeland Security’s involvement in the takedown, along with an absence of any allegations that Rentboy was a menace to society beyond simple prostitution — like engaging in human trafficking or exploiting minors — stirred anger and fear in the gay community. Activists questioned why the agency would single out Rentboy when other escort websites, gay or straight, continue to do business.

rentaboy-founder-jeff-hurant5The Fed raid on rentboy corporate offices in Oct, 2016,drew criticism from the gay activists who accused the federal government of meddling in people’s sex lives.

 

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