Most of us have read about the recent Charlie Sheen affair at the Plaza
Hotel. According to the
New York Post, Sheen offered $12,000 for sex with actress Capri Anderson. Under New
York’s Penal Law, Patronizing a Prostitute, PL 230.03:
A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute in the fourth degree when
he patronizes a prostitute.
The stand-alone charge is not helpful. However, we do get a full explanation
of patronizing a prostitute in Penal Law 230.02:
A person patronizes a prostitute when:
(a) Pursuant to a prior understanding, he pays a fee to another person
as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual
conduct with him; or
(b) He pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding
that in return therefor such person or a third person will engage in sexual
conduct with him; or
(c) He solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct
with him in return for a fee.
Thus, if the Post story is to be taken at face value, the conduct alleged
may make out a prima facie case of patronizing a prostitute. That is not
to say, however, that Mr. Sheen will or should be arrested and charged.
There are many variables that go into a case such as this, and a lot will
depend on Ms. Anderson’s willingness to cooperate with the prosecution.
If she were to choose not to speak with the police, it would be next to
impossible to go forward with charges. And even if she did, the case would
ultimately devolve into a he-said, she-said scenario that prosecutors
try to avoid. Of course, if there were some corroboration for the arrangement,
such as emails, text messages, or other memorializations of understandings
between the “parties,” that would be different story. In the
end, it will depend on the government’s desire to investigate and
Ms. Anderson’s cooperation.
If you would like to learn more about the charge, or are facing criminal
charges yourself, you should consult with the
experienced former prosecutors at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP.
patronizing a prostitute,