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Prostitution's high-tech side shown in 'black book'

February 19, 2004|by DAVID DISHNEAU

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - The newly opened "black book" of a Frederick County madam reveals how high-tech the world's oldest profession has become.

Thousands of e-mails, including date requests, were made public Wednesday as the city of Frederick complied with a court order to release police records of a 1999 raid on the Corporate Affair Escort Service.

"I'd like to see Nikki for 2 hours tomorrow or Saturday, March 20, sometime after 5 p.m., preferably 6 to 8. Actually, can I make it 3 hours, 6 to 9 p.m. That'd be great!!!" one correspondent wrote in March 1999.

Printouts of electronic messages both titillating and mundane comprised the bulk of 8,500 pages available for supervised public inspection in a makeshift reading room outside the city attorney's office. The city also released videotaped police interviews with three witnesses and pictures of the crime scene.

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Three compact discs containing pornographic images were available for viewing or for purchase, at $20 each, by people 18 and older. Those pictures apparently were made for a Web site run by Angelika Potter, who pleaded guilty in 2000 to operating a "place of assignation," or brothel.

Copies of all the printed material could be purchased for $3,000, but as of late Wednesday afternoon, the only buyer was The Frederick News-Post, which led the fight for public access amid allegations that Potter's customers included public officials. The only public official known to have associated with Potter's business, then-Alderman Blaine Young, acknowledged in June 2001 that he had hired some of the women to dance at parties.

Some of the e-mails are explicit. A correspondent with a "house.gov" address, indicating a possible connection to the U.S. House of Representatives, seeks employment as an escort. He is told in a reply that one of the women wants to have sex with him on camera. Frederick is about 45 miles from Washington.

Another e-mail sheepishly inquires about a threesome: "My girlfriend and I are looking for something a little special, since we are both first timers at this and she is 45 and I am 47. We are a little apprehensive but would like to do something a little crazy before we settle down. You know something to talk about a(nd) smile about in our rocking chair someday."

More prosaic communications include bids and offers on eBay for a "Furby" doll, and an extended discussion of whether basset hounds bite. Melodye, apparently on vacation, writes that she and Harry are having a good time in Louisville, Ky., where "I also got to meet Becky & her pretty babies."

Just one private citizen joined the crowd of reporters lining up for a look at the material when City Hall opened at 8 a.m. He was Daniel Trey, a retired construction worker and local political gadfly who filed a request for the material under Maryland's Public Information Act in 2000, like the News-Post and The Associated Press.

"Someone's got to look at this information and get through it," Trey said, paging through the documents. "It's not about the prostitution, it's about the perception of a cover-up."

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