The former chief executive of the male escort website Rentboy.com was indicted on Wednesday on a charge of promoting prostitution, in a case that has outraged gay and civil rights activists.
The three-count indictment against Jeffrey Hurant, 51, by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York, added money laundering charges not previously filed against the company founder in a criminal complaint in August.
Easy Rent Systems Inc, which did business as Rentboy.com, was also named a defendant. The indictment did not name six former employees who were arrested along with Hurant in August when authorities seized the gay website. A spokeswoman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said the criminal complaint against the former employees remains pending.
The case has prompted criticism among some gay rights activists, who held a protest in September and have questioned why prosecutors are targeting the service after it had operated transparently for nearly two decades.
Federal agents raided the Chelsea office of Rentboy in August 2015. Dozens of heterosexual escort services continue to operate online in New York City.