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City considers posting johns' names

May 25, 2011 at 9:49 AM   |   Comments

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., May 25 (UPI) -- West Palm Beach, Fla., is considering publishing the names of men arrested for soliciting prostitution, authorities said.

Officials said they hoped publishing the names, and possibly the photos, of johns would curb prostitution. The information would be posted on the city's Web site or in a print publication, The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported.

"I like the statement we'd be making," Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell said at a Monday commission meeting. "It would be making the public more aware that we're paying attention to this problem."

The city's "loitering with the intent to commit prostitution" ordinance has been declared unconstitutional by two circuit judges. City Attorney Claudia McKenna said West Palm Beach now is trying to find new ways to curb prostitution. "It is not a criminal activity that courts particularly like, because of the potential for vague application and enforcement," McKenna told the newspaper.

The first time the city tried to shame the clients of prostitution didn't turn out too well, the newspaper said. Mayor Nancy Graham received national attention in 1992 when she tried a similar program.

The city placed two $1,000 ads in The Palm Beach Post. The first listed the names, ages and cities of 81 men arrested in a prostitution sweep. The city listed more men a month later, but this time with addresses and birth dates to protect men with similar names, the newspaper said.

A man whose name was listed but who was acquitted of soliciting sued the city, and the city agreed to a $10,000 settlement.

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