It’s true, our government is getting more and more creative everyday. Unfortunately, this creativity is not used to solve the life and death problems of our great citizens, but rather, this creativity is directed at enhancing penalties of petit misdemeanor crimes such as prostitution. How, you say?
Recently, government investigative agencies have targeted prostitutes & escorts. Apparently, law enforcement is not satisfied with our legislature’s designation of escorting and prostitution as a mere second degree misdemeanor charges carrying a maximum of 60 days in jail. Yes, this is the lowest possible criminal accusation that exists in Florida–but what if the escort offers not the usual sexual favors such as intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex– all three of these acts would merely amount to a second degree misdemeanor. Now, what if she offers a back rub? Well, that back rub can lead to a felony arrest carrying mandatory prison (56 points for you scoresheet fans), because the back rub is ‘practicing health care without a license’ (foreplay now requires a license from the state…have the Chinese taken over already?).
That’s right, a back rub is a more serious crime than anal sex. You see, an escort that performs anal sex is only subject to a second degree misdemeanor, but an escort that rubs the back of an undercover agent is “massaging” him, and arrested for felony “Practicing Health Care Without a License”. Allegedly, if you buy the reasoning of law enforcment (I don’t, of course), a massage is heath care, and requires a license. Since when is a little foreplay considered health care that requires state licensing to perform?
Here’s how 99% of these cases go down. An undercover agent fires up his computer and heads to Craigslist.org, and finds a woman under “Adult Services”. Yes, there is a listing for “Therapeutic Services” as well, whereby the officer could find a legitimate massage, but that’s not really the goal here, is it? Next, the agent calls the escort to his hotel room for a $250 ‘session’. In the endless pursuit of prostitution, both the escort and the agent have acquired enough sophistication that they don’t unintentionally tip their hand too quickly, so there’s a bit of verbal jousting that usually accompanies the hotel meeting. Eventually, the escort and the agent remove some clothing, and the escort starts rubbing on the agent, even though, technically, no “sex” has occurred yet. Yes, this was once called “foreplay”, but now this rubbing is known as a “massage”. Then the agent’s “ah-ha” moment arrives, he now speaks the “takedown” signal and a swarm of agents barge into the room on a felony arrest for “Practicing Health Care Without a License”. Mandatory prison.
Defending such accusations requires that criminal defense attorney John Guidry remind the court why our legislature mandates licensing of massage activities–and the reason is for the public’s protection. The statute regarding Practicing Massage without a License (not as serious as practicing Health Care without a license) notes that “The Legislature recognizes that the practice of a massage is potentially dangerous to the public in that massage therapists must have a knowledge of anatomy and physiology and an understanding of the relationship between the structure and teh function of the body. Massage is therapeutic, and regulations are necessary to protect the public from unqualified practitioners. It is therefore deemed necessary in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare to regulate the practice of massage in this state”. Does it sound like the legislature intended escorts and prostitutes to be included in this statute? Doesn’t to me.
If you have been charged with this overreaching accusation, you should call criminal defense attorney John Guidry to discuss your options.