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Monday, April 6, 2015

Are ECSO Deputy Sheriffs Sexual Predators in the Brownsville Area?

“Have a little respect for this woman just because she was doing something you don’t aprove of her lifestyle wasn’t good doesnt mean she deserved to die because she beggd for money .”  ‘DON’T JUDGE !!’  Sending prayers to this family during this awful time, don’t forget she was someones daughter !”  JAS, January 30, 2013, writing about the late Ms. Melissa Midori Townsend, married and mother of two children.


Peter Wehner, a writer at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote of Jesus this past Easter:  "The authorities were constantly at odds with Jesus because he hung out with the 'wrong' people'--the despised, the outcast, the ceremonially unclean--and he claimed the authority of God in doing so.  Jesus was condemned for being a 'friend of tax collectors and sinners' and for consorting with prostitutes.  His anger was directed most often against the proud, the hypocritical and the self-righteous.  The powerful hated him, while those who were broked flocked to him."  HERE

Giles Fraser, writing at the liberal Guardian (UK), explained the meaning of Jesus this past Easter:  "Christianity, properly understood, is a religion of losers--the worst of playground insults.  For not only do we not want to be a loser, we don't want to associate with them either.  We pointedly shun losers, as if some of their loser-ness might rub off on us.  Or rather, more honestly, we shun them because others might recognize us as among their number.  And because we secretly feat that this might actually be true, we shun them all the more viciously, thus to distance ourselves all the more emphatically.  And so the cock crows three times." HERE

One indicator of a civilized society is how well it treats those who are sick, poor, defenseless, vulnerable, or otherwise significantly disadvantaged.  How well does society protect them from exploitation, predation, and degradation?  As a Brooklyn-born Catholic, we were taught that the ideal was a society wherein the strong protected the weak and the rich provided for the poor—sentiments in America that are now highly disputed from one certain political-religious persuasion.

One of the vulnerable segments of our society is sex workers.

An article at a law collective stated that sex workers (formerly prostitutes) can be subjected by pimps to “physically, sexually, and emotionally abusive methods” to control their behavior; sex workers can also be subjected to violence from customers.  Sex workers, according to the lawyers, “have felt dis-empowered and alienated from society and their parents all their lives.  Many prostitutes are the project of abusive homes which they runaway from and are not legally qualified to work in any legitimate industry.  They ultimately resort to prostitution as a means of getting by.”  And, because the sex industry is held in low regard by society, usually located a geographical and mental distance from mainstream society, and sex workers are the most vulnerable actors within the industry, the women are the least protected and the most exploited.  HERE

A scholarly article in Medical Anthropology explained that already abused/traumatized women lacking social services “may turn to drug use in an attempt to deal with the harsh realities of their daily lives.  In turn, the need for drugs, coupled with a lack of educational and employment opportunities, may lead women into prostitution.  Life on the street increases women’s risk for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as their risk for HIV/AIDS.  Exposure to traumatic experiences deepens the dependence on drugs, completing a vicious cycle of violence, substance abuse, and AIDS risk.”  HERE

Connie Bookman, executive director and founder of the Pensacola-based Pathways For Change, a faith-based addictions treatment center partnered with over 30 local groups, told the Pensacola News Journal that the vast majority of sex workers are caught in a cycle of using drugs at an early age, selling sex to buy more drugs, or using drugs to cope with the psychological traumas in their lives, oftentimes sexual abuse.  HERE

Thus, sex workers in Pensacola are no different from sex workers in other parts of the country—they are the most vulnerable participants in an industry relegated to the worst parts of town, traumatized from a young age, using drugs to cope with their lifestyle, lacking supportive social and medical services, subjected to violence without recourse to police protection, and alienated from their families and society.

Former Sex Worker Shanal’s Story

To all that trauma and cycle of drugs-sex-violence experts write about, comes the story from a confidential informant who was a former sex worker in the Mobile Highway area of Pensacola.  She contacted me immediately after the first CJ’s Street Report’s post explaining the purpose of the blog went live.  While no longer living in the Pensacola area and no longer operating as a sex worker, she requested anonymity to protect herself from reprisals.  I will call her Shanal.  Her comments have been lightly edited.

Shanal explained that the area of the Mobile Highway in Brownsville is very dangerous and “anything could happen” if you visited.  The area includes parts of Cervantes Street and Lynch Street, the latter a congregation point for sex workers who have sex with their customers either in the Relax Inn, the customers’ cars, or an old house on Citrus Street, which is the continuation of Lynch Street.  At the intersection of Mobile Highway and Lynch Street there is a liquor store, across from which is a bus stop where the sex workers ply their trade.  According to Shanal, “most of the girls have a drug addiction which leads them into prostitution.”  Most of the women work for themselves, while some have pimps.

Shanal told me that she was approached by a male in a certain colored civilian car at the intersection of Lynch Street and Mobile Highway around midnight.  Once she entered the car, the man locked the child-proof locks, identified himself as a sheriff’s deputy and displayed his badge.  Shanal was “terrified” and began asking him questions while learning that he was married, had children, and probably was not a rookie.  Once they arrived at the abandoned house on Citrus Street—a house well recessed from the street so that without headlights the house is essentially invisible—she climbed over the front seat into the backseat.  The ECSO deputy exited and re-entered the car in the backseat, handcuffed her, “and raped [me] anally for about 30 minutes but it felt like hours.  Afterwards he drove me back to the spot he picked me up from.  Days later I began hearing similar stories from the other girls.”

After allegedly being raped, Shanal did not seek medical treatment, collected no forensic evidence, and did not call the Sheriff’s Office to report the rape.  She once encountered the certain deputy sheriff in a completely different social situation and immediately there was mutual recognition, according to her report.  Thus, while she could without a doubt identify the deputy sheriff, lacking physical proof there is no reason for her to pursue a legal case.

But, such a story is not out of the ordinary.  When I worked as a military intelligence analyst overseas, before the U.S. State Department could work with local police forces to stop human trafficking, especially for work as sex slaves, the police departments had to be cleaned up because the police were either the traffickers, protecting the traffickers, using the women for sex, or providing no legal protections if the women escaped from their enslavers.

In mid-July 2014, Sheriff Morgan fired a deputy trainee for having sex with a woman while making an on-duty call.  The fact that even the U.S. Secret Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency used sex workers provided by the drug cartels in Colombia gives Shanal’s story more than plausibility.  HERE

Shanal’s purpose in contacting CJ’s Street Report was to help the sex workers currently operating in the Pensacola area.  She told me, “I got out but I think of all the horrible things that happened to me out there.  I can never forget the faces of evil or the faces of innocent women that need help and what sickens me is that the same people we thought were there to protect and serve are causing just as much pain.  I live with scars for the rest of my life and to this day I’m terrified of all police officers, good or bad.  I don’t trust them especially the ones in Escambia.”

Do ECSO Deputies Murder Sex Workers?

According to Shanal, the women working in the Mobile Highway area “know that the [Escambia County Sheriff’s Office] deputies are abusing and raping them; they are the same ones surveilling them.”  Consequently, the sex workers “only trust each other.”

In late January 2013, Ms. Melissa Midori Townsend was found murdered “in a field behind Alternative Powersports, near Kenmore Boulevard,” according to a report.  She had been there a few days before she was discovered.  No one has been apprehended for the crime.  Ms. Townsend, according to my confidential source, may have been Native American.  HERE

According to my confidential source, after being raped, Ms. Townsend was stabbed.  The sex workers in the Mobile Highway area suspect an ECSO deputy sheriff killed her.  However, this allegation lacks proof.  On the other hand, the belief that a deputy sheriff killed her perpetuates the fear and lack of trust of the ECSO.

Some Pensacola friends of Ms. Townsend’s dislike the fact that she has been forgotten, especially by the local media.

One month after Ms. Townsend was found, a woman named Susan wrote on the webpage, “I met Melisa in 2009.  She was such a sweet lady…. I’m furious that the tv stations are not continuing to put her pic up so someone will come forward.  Have been searching online for new info, but nothing.  Melisa didn’t deserve to die this way, and I am grieved.  I pray that soon her killer will be found.”  HERE

On June 22, 2013, Ms. Toccarra Luckett aka CoCo, a 31-year old Black woman was found shot to death “near the intersection of North ‘S’ Street and Cross Street,” according to the ECSO’s Facebook page.  No suspect has been apprehended for her murder.  HERE

According to Shanal, sex workers “believed she was murdered by an officer for giving him HIV during a rape.  She was also a friend of mine.  These women are being killed off one by one.  Please go out to talk to them.  I wish I were there so I could help just to get this out there.”  Shanal told me that the investigators did not find any shell casings at the crime scene.  She also told me that Ms. Luckett had been the mother of a boy and girl and was married.

Many of Ms. Luckett’s commenters on the ECSO Facebook page were saddened by her brutal murder.

The fact that the perpetrators of murdered sex workers are not apprehended and the cases are forgotten as “cold cases” only fuels this fear and lack of trust.

Shanal told me, “What’s real suspicious is that all these women are being killed and somehow police have no leads in most of the murders.  I know why they did it.  I will try to find more of the girls.  I just hope I don’t see any familiar faces in the news.”

Concluding Observation

Social scientists, medical doctors, lawyers, and social workers know that the women who become sex workers have been abused and traumatized from a rather young age.  They are not only psychologically traumatized, but their mental condition is affected by drugs, their socially stigmatized lifestyle, their alienation from family and society, the lack of medical care and other social services, and the fear of physical violence from their customers.

The sex workers in the Mobile Highway area know that they can be arrested for drugs possession or solicitation for sex by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.  That is a business risk they take.  What they did not bargain for is the possibility that ECSO deputy sheriffs would rape or kill them with impunity.  While these allegations are not grounded in physical evidence, belief that these allegations are true nevertheless creates more trauma, less trust in institutions, and ultimately even more withdrawal from society—making them even more vulnerable to predation and exploitation.

I am willing to listen to more stories and publish them, if the sex workers are willing to contact me via email or by cell phone (510-816-3761) or Facebook Messenger/Message.

The sex workers of Escambia County need a voice.  Are residents of Escambia County willing to listen?

Thank you Shanal for coming forward.

As JAS so eloquently stated about her friend, “Don’t forget, she was someone’s daughter!”

In fact, they were all somebody’s daughter or, if they had children, somebody’s mother.



  2. Someone needs to investigate the police

  3. do you want the name of the deputy? I know who he is because of many stories from deputies, civilians and subordinates of this scum bag...he sexually harasses junior female deputies. He has been assumed by PPD as a possible serial killer but as he still is employed by the Sheriff's office, the retaliation factor of his badge and how cold and sadistic this man is, it is difficult to pursue. The blue wall has caught him in a sting in Brownsville but recognizing his voice, he was stopped and told to leave. So they know what this guy is. He's been caught with the prostitutes that are terrorized by this POS.