Earlier this year, Jeffrey Hurant
pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution and money laundering. Yesterday, he was sentenced to six months in prison, and a $7,500 fine.
U.S. District Judge Margo K. Brodie explained the punishment was designed to send a powerful message to similar websites.
“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, 51, tried to persuade the judge to go lightly on him because his site helped create a sex positive space for gay men, as well as protected sex workers from pimps and other criminal elements.
In fact, several groups and individuals submitted briefs to the court arguing for leniency, with many claiming that a tough sentence could send the wrong message to the gay community.
"[This] 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,” wrote state Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat.
“The very thing that is illegal -- there is no question it did a lot of good,” admitted Brodie as she announced the sentence.
“I believe that consensual sex work between adults should be decriminalized and destigmatized,” Hurant said as he left court. “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.”