NBC News reports:
The former CEO of a once-popular male escort service website who pleaded guilty last year to promoting prostitution was sentenced to six months in prison Wednesday by a judge who said she wanted to send a deterrent message even though she knows the business helped people. Jeffrey Hurant, who ran the Rentboy.com site, which billed itself as the largest site for male escorts in the world, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Margo K. Brodie in Brooklyn.
“The very thing that is illegal — there is no question it did a lot of good,” Brodie said of the website as she also announced a $7,500 fine. “Almost two decades of committing a crime. That can’t go unpunished.”
In letters to the court, lawmakers, civil rights organizations and other supporters cautioned that a tough sentence could send the wrong message to the gay community. The case is troubling “because it harkens back to a dark chapter in our nation’s history when the government used its vast resources to target and threaten LGBT adults by exposing their private consensual sexual activity,” wrote state Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat.