NHPD arrests eight prostitutes

Recently appointed New Haven Police Department Chief James Lewis plans to make New Haven streets safer by tackling the world’s oldest profession: prostitution.

Undercover officers from the NHPD arrested eight prostitutes and 12 “johns” in two separate stings over the last two weeks in Fair Haven and the Dwight/Kensington neighborhoods. The stings were part of a strategy engineered by Lewis to combat prostitution in New Haven, which he immediately identified as one of the city’s biggest problems, said City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga.

Anti-prostitution stings and “more activity of this nature” will continue in upcoming months, Mayorga said, and they may help NHPD officers tackle other crimes often connected with prostitution, such as drug trafficking and domestic violence.

The first sting occurred late Aug. 14 night, when NHPD officers arrested 12 “johns,” or men looking to hire prostitutes, who were caught in the process of soliciting sexual services from a female undercover agent. Eleven of the arrested men were charged with patronizing a prostitute. One was charged with aiding and abetting the patronization of a prostitute.

The second sting on Aug. 21 targeted prostitutes. Eight women were arrested in the process of attempting to peddle their services to a police officer posing as a “john.”

Before the stings, Lewis discussed his plans to target the city’s prostitution with several community leaders, Ward 22 Alderman Greg Morehead said, though the decision to implement a series of stings was never discussed formally with the Board of Aldermen.

The NHPD hopes that this new focus on prostitution will help the department simultaneously tackle other areas of criminal activity, Mayorga said. Prostitution is not a “stand-alone crime,” she said, and the practice often goes hand-in-hand with other crimes. Mayorga said she thinks the two stings alone could potentially have significant impact on crime prevention. But, she said, she could not comment on whether the arrested women were victims of domestic violence.

Morehead said Lewis’ aim to control the sex industry is the first “aggressive attempt” to address the issue in recent years and, although he said none of his constituents in Ward 22 have complained of problems involving street prostitution, he said he suspects other wards have experienced the ill effects of the sex trade in their neighborhoods.

“These stings are going to be ongoing until the problem is controlled,” Morehead said. “And they’re one among many deterrents [to crime] that will be done in different wards. It’s not just picking on prostitution, or one ward, or one area of crime.”

Mayorga said, in this case, it was particularly important to make the public familiar with the names and faces of these individuals. In two press releases e-mailed on Aug. 15 and 22, city officials included the full names, addresses, dates-of-births and photographs of all the arrested individuals.

The names and addresses reveal that the majority of the “johns” arrested in the sting were men living outside of the neighborhoods where they were soliciting sexual services. This fact, Mayorga said, has been particularly worrisome to the chief of police.

“Johns are traveling from other communities to take part in illegal and disruptive activities in someone else’s backyard,” Lewis said in the Aug. 15 press release. “There’s no reason why women and children have to fear walking in their neighborhoods because they are going to be accosted by men looking to patronize prostitutes.”

Eight of the arrested “johns” are residents of New Haven. Six of the eight prostitutes arrested in the second sting were New Haven residents. The women ranged in age from 28 to 56 years old.


  • In Memoriam to a New Haven prostitute

    On 1984 the dilemma of a New Haven prostitute dubbed "Helen" by 60 Minutes, and the dilemma of New Haven itself, became the occassion of informing 25 million viewers of that program that AIDS was not a gender specific disease.Ironically, this prostitute's very life may have saved thousands of other lives and sparked massive world wide research, rivaling the greatest achievements of Yale scholars.

    At that time HIV had not been discovered, and there was no way to prove one had AIDS until its final stages when the patient was dying.

    In addition to that problem was the inorant public and scholarly perception that the disease was exclusively the problem of males---not females---and specifically males who engaged in same gender sex.

    "Helen" proved that wrong. A prostitute and heroin addict, she had given birth to an infant with AIDS who never left the hospital and who later died before age two. The unproved but highly likely hypothesis was that the baby contracted the illness in the womb through the mother's body fluids.

    Ergo, the mother --who was obviously not a homosexual male -- was at least a carrier of the illness if not ill herself and certainly a transmitter.

    That television broadcast was the first time Americans realized the absurdity of believing that whatever microbe it was that caused AIDS, it had a sexual preference.

    Since at that time HIV had not been identified and therefore no medication was available to treat it, this alarming information that AIDS was not confined to those who practiced the still socially unacceptable sexual unions of homosexual males, was a shocking revelation.

    Its alarm and the resulting proliferation of safe sex information circulated -- nay, even promotoed --nationally may have saved thousands of lives.

    Ironically and paradoxically, this New haven prostitute may have performed a public service which resulted in the saving of thousands of lives among heterosexual males who suddenly considered the wisdom of practicing safe sex and the massive expansion of AIDS research after it became known that the disease did not only target small and socially unaccepteable groups at the time: homosexual males and needle using drug addicts.

    In short, this tragic New Haven practitioner of the world's oldest profession, may have unleashed more "learning" in the nation and the world than many an Ivy league Nobel Laureate.

  • The Lorax

    Okay, heads-up on the writing--the headline should reference the arrest of both the prostitutes and the Johns. That is the point of the whole story and yet you leave it out of the headline and that results in the business-as-usual perception that the only criminals to report on are the prostitutes. By skipping over the Johns in the headline, one must conclude you don't think the Johns play a role in the story. Since you both decline to print the photos, addresses and names of the Johns and yet report on the police's efforts to get the information out into the public, it seems as though you are confused about how to write this story at best or trying to manipulate the information to downplay the John component. As a journalist (and this point to the editor as well!!) you need to review writing and the presentation of the material for bias and presumption. It is a reasonably well written article devoid of the strangled prose the YDN sometimes dishes out, but it is damaged by the evident preconceived notions.

    Prostitution is basic capitalism--without demand there would be no service. The demand is the issue if one wants to stop prostitution. That is what the police at attempting to work on and that is the story. You chose to recast the story of the new police strategy by trumpeting the prossies' arrests but not the johns'. Something to think about.

  • the_perv_police

    if none of the constituents have complained about the 'problem' of prostitution, why is the chief's spokeswoman claiming it is "one of the city’s biggest problems"

    the police chief looks like a total perv and should be focusing on the crimes that people ARE complaining about.

    by the way, studies show that children of divorced couples are more likely to engage in illegal activity later in life, so maybe you should outlaw divorce too.

  • Kim

    56 year old prostitute? Wonder if she is a retiree and if this is her second career.

  • Anonymous

    I believe the newsworthy aspect of this story is the arrest of Johns and the publication of their names. In fact, more johns (12) were arrested than prostitutes (8). Why, then, does the headline reflect the arrest of prostitutes only?

    Bad start to the year, folks.