Jeffrey Hurant, owner of gay online escort site Rentboy.com who was arrested in a sting operation in August 2015, was sentenced to six months in prison on Wednesday for promoting prostitution.
Hurant pleaded guilty but asked the court for no jail time, telling District Judge Margo Brodie his site actually improved conditions for sex workers.
— Newsday (@Newsday) August 2, 2017
Judge Brodie ignored letters from Rentboy users who praised the 51-year-old’s website, saying she couldn’t ignore the illegal activities that grossed him almost $10 million in the last five years.
“What I have before me is two decades of committing a crime, and of Mr. Hurant knowing he’s committing a crime,” Brodie said. “That can’t go unpunished.”
Hurant has been ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and forfeit any profits from his site in addition to his six-month jail sentence.
“I believe that consensual sex work between adults should be decriminalized and destigmatized,” Hurant said in his plea. “But that hasn’t happened yet. My business was ultimately illegal, but it shouldn’t have been. We must fearlessly fight for the rights to allow consensual adults to choose what they do with their bodies.”