NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

June 27, 2013

No shortage of victims in this 'victimless crime'

(Continued)

In fact, it was Barron’s alleged assault of an employee who refused to spank a client that opened the sordid doors to police.

These are not charges stemming from a victimless crime.

Prostitution is illegal in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Protestions about its legality in Nevada are irrelevant. Lawrence isn’t Reno.

If these charges prove out, Barron took illegal advantage of some of the area’s most vulnerable women.

She also is charged with secretly videotaping sessions between clients and employees, presumably for her own protection and to their detriment.

When Lawrence police conduct routine prostitution stings, the names of the suspected hookers and their clients are made public — and published in this newspaper.

This list, although reportedly significantly larger and likely containing some names that will arch eyebrows, should be treated no differently.

It will be up to the district attorney to determine whether any or all of Barron’s clients should be prosecuted, a decision that likely will hinge on the evidence available. But where there is clear evidence, charges should be brought and names named.

If any elected official or public employee is on that list, the taxpayers have a right to know.

If public servants of any rank or tenure are knowingly breaking the law, those who helped elect them or pay their salaries are entitled to that information.

The potential scope of the operation and the career fallout that could result from the list becoming public is significant.

So, too, are the crimes Barron stands accused of.

There are many potential victims in this case, many of whom never crossed the threshold into Lori Barron’s place of business.

That includes the women in her employ, Lawrence residents and business owners who don’t deserve another attack on their quality of life, taxpayers, clients’ families who may suffer the consequences, the state for nonpayment of employment taxes, voters and beyond.

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