August 1, 2017 | The Biz
Rentboy.com founder Jeffrey Hurant
is hoping to persuade a judge that he shouldn't spend any time behind bars.
Back in 2015, the offices of the popular gay escort website were raided by government officials. Hurant eventually pleaded guilty to one count of promoting prostitution and one count of money laundering.
The case is now at the sentencing phase. Prosecutors are asking Hurant be sent to prison for 15 to 21 months. They called his website “one of the largest prostitution enterprises” and have argued that a prison time will send a powerful message to other, similar sites.
“Without actual punishment in this case the operators of those websites will likely conclude that they … can expect only a slap on the wrist -- hardly the type of punishment that would dissuade someone from the significant money that can be obtained through this type of criminal activity,” prosecutors argued.
Hurant, however, has submitted a counter argument, saying that his former business promoted an "image of positivity and pride in gay sexuality.” He added that his site removed pimps from the equation, allowing sex workers to conduct business without being beholden to anyone else.
Hurant’s lawyers also pointed out that Hurant and his business partners played no role in the actual hook-ups between client and escort.
“The defendants had no involvement in brokering or facilitating the activities of advertisers and their clients following their connection through the Rentboy.com site," they submitted in a letter to the judge in the case. "Thus, the only state promotion of prostitution offense that Hurant and Easy Rent Systems are guilty of is a misdemeanor under New York law.”
Sentencing is scheduled for tomorrow, August 2.