“The very thing that is illegal – there is no question it did a lot of good,” Brodie said as she announced the sentence, which included a $7,500 fine.
Hurant said he created the website so sex workers could proceed in a safer manner.
Prosecutors wanted him to serve at least a short term to deter operators of other escort services from similar misconduct, while his lawyers have argued that he deserves no more than probation.
In letters to the court, the lawmakers, civil rights organizations and other supporters have 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.
Five New York City council members from the LGBT community also signed a letter arguing that “a harsh sentence will serve neither society nor the rehabilitation of Mr. Hurant.”
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Prosecutors had alleged that Rentboy was the equivalent of an online brothel, and what the site called escorts were actually prostitutes. They said part of the proof was in the explicit ads that featured nude photos, listings of all manner of physical attributes and pricing options ranging from $150 an hour to $3,500 for a weekend. – via CBS.com
There has still been no explanation why Homeland Security was involved in the raid upon Rentboy.com in 2015. Many gay activists along with this website have questioned why the agency would single out Rentboy when other escort websites, gay or straight, continue to do business.
“We must fearlessly fight for the rights for consensual adults to choose what they do with their bodies,” Hurant said as he left court, hugging some 30 friends and family members who had come to show their support.