FL: Woman arrested after offering free sex — but a charge for companionship

Anthony Colarossi | Sentinel Staff Writer
11:32 AM EDT, May 19, 2009

LEESBURG – A suspected prostitute shared her unusual work rationale with an undercover Leesburg police officer just before she was arrested for the second time within 24 hours late last week.

“I don’t take money for sex,” Ashley H, 26, of Leesburg, told the officer. “I take money for company and the sex is free.”

H’s comments came late Friday just before she was about to be arrested for the second time that day. According to a police report, H told the officer she had learned something from her earlier arrest — accept cash for companionship, not sex.

“See, I learned from making the mistake last night with the police — if I do it this way they can’t get me for it,” H said, according to a police report.

She was wrong. Leesburg police arrested H and several other women on prostitution-related charges following complaints about prostitution near the Deluxe Motel at 113 N. 14th St.

Asked about H’s logic, Leesburg police Lt. Rob Hicks said, “I don’t think there’s any shortage of creativity — It’s the world’s oldest profession.”

Leesburg police have made a series of prostitution-related arrests lately, but officials there don’t see the success of their undercover operations as a sign that prostitution is increasing across the city.

“We probably have the same amount of prostitutes as we’ve always had,” Hicks said.

He added, however, that the department has been able to conduct aggressive undercover details recently and arrest several women offering police officers sex for money.

H was arrested early Friday morning for assignation to commit prostitution and was released from the Lake County Jail by 3:30 p.m. By 8 p.m. Friday, she was back on the street near U.S. Highway 27 and West Main Street, according to an arrest report.

On the same day, Leesburg police arrested at least three other women on similar charges.

Hicks said Leesburg’s resident and commuter populations, which can swell to about 60,000 people, and its urban feel may help draw the prostitution trade more than other Lake County cities.

“I think prostitution generally runs the corridor of [U.S. Highways] 441 and 27,” Hicks said.

The department’s Vice and Anti-Crime Unit has conducted many of the details dealing with prostitution in the city, Hicks said.

Link to original at Orlando Sentinel

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