|By G. Michael Dobbs|
HOLYOKE Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott is hoping District Attorney William Bennett will give him a potential deterrent against prostitution in the Paper City. Scott is waiting to hear if Bennett will approve releasing mug shots of the "johns" to the press.
"I'm very close to saying I'm going to put them [the photos] out," Scott said.
While the release of the mug shots of people charged with more serious crimes is routine, Scott said soliciting sex for a fee is a misdemeanor and those arrestees do not receive that kind of attention.
Getting approval from Bennett should prevent Scott from running into legal trouble involving the arrests in the future.
"I don't want to give the judiciary ammunition to go after me," he said.
Scott's Department, along with the assistance of Massachusetts State Police Troop "B", conducted "John Sting/Streetwalker V" beginning on July 26. Scott explained to the Chicopee Herald the sting operation was in response to the many complaints from businesses that prostitutes were operating in the Main and High Streets areas as well as near the city's Post Office not only during the evening, but the day as well.
A total of 43 individuals were arrested including 18 prostitutes, 23 johns and two people in unrelated charges. The johns came from Chicopee, Easthampton, Granby, Greenfield, Hatfield, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Springfield, South Hadley, West Springfield and Westfield.
While Scott said prostitution is not a big problem in the city, the Police Department has been consistently getting calls from businesses.
The trouble, Scott said, is the prostitutes and the johns are either released on their own recognizance or the cases are continued without a finding.
Scott said that court officials view such cases as an "annoyance," and the police bear the blame for the situation rather than the courts.
Multiple arrests of the same people are not uncommon. Primitivo Cruz of Holyoke was arrested twice during the sting on the charge of soliciting sex for a fee on 2:31 a.m. on July 29 and then again later that day at 10:11 p.m.
Lori Ann Harris, a homeless woman, was also arrested twice on the charges of soliciting sex for a fee. Her arrests were at 7:27 p.m. on July 26 and at 5:43 p.m. on July 28.
"Before we can finish the paperwork, they're out on the street," Scott said.
Scott believes that prostitutes many of which he described as intravenous drug users pose "a serious health hazard."
"The johns are playing Russian roulette," he said.
Those person arrested for soliciting sex for a fee included: Jose E. Mercado of Greenfield; Sean Connor of Springfield; Robert W. Espinosa of Granby; Richard Lavoie of Holyoke; Daniel Ramos of Chicopee; Roman Kouzmouk of Longmeadow; Alexandr Orlik of West Springfield; Richard Bard of Holyoke; Harry Ruiz of Holyoke; Brian Paige of Easthampton; Jaroslaw Wrona of Chicopee; Raymond Louis Roberts of South Hadley; Damien Rodriguez of Holyoke; Edgar Rivera of Holyoke; Ramon Rodriguez of Springfield; Dawn Marie Hejwosz of Holyoke; Kimberly S. Jarvis of Chicopee; Tara Lynn Taft of Chicopee; Edwin Rios of Holyoke; Loralee Castillo, homeless; Lydia Alvarado of Holyoke; Nicole Catherine Szulc of Holyoke; Leslie Westbrook of Holyoke; Carolyn Abreu of Holyoke; Michelle L. Chor of Holyoke; Angel L. Rivera of Holyoke; Edgardo A. Leon of Holyoke; David Austin of Hatfield; Carla J. Fitzpatrick of Holyoke; Ann Marie Nieves of Holyoke; Wanda Ivelese Rivera of Florence; Charles A, Linderme of Chicopee; Jose A. Nater of Holyoke; and Jeffrey W. Gozgit of Chicopee.
Arrested on the charge of common nightwalker were Donald W. Partyka of South Hadley; Annemarie Corrales of Holyoke; Catherine Diaz, homeless; and Margaret Voisine of Chicopee.