Bordello Uncovered Three Blocks From Police Station
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A mother and daughter who kept customers’ names in a computer while accepting credit cards at a bordello three blocks from a police station were sentenced to jail terms of 30 and 90 days.
Rosemary Williams, 43, a former clerk for Los Angeles County Superior Court, received the shorter sentence Wednesday. Her daughter, Rene Chanel LeBlanc, 24, a part-time student at a computer programming school, got the 90- day term.
Van Nuys Superior Court Commissioner Alan B. Haber also placed the women on three years probation and fined them $100 each.
The brothel, located three blocks from the Van Nuys police station and about 15 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, grossed an estimated $30,000 a month, authorities said. It screened customers with closed-circuit TV.
″It’s rather embarrassing,″ said Sgt. Joe Parker of the Van Nuys Division’s vice squad. He said the women operated the brothel ″almost at our back door″ for about six months last year.
In an agreement with the district attorney’s office, each had pleaded guilty to a charge of inducing others to engage in prostitution, a form of pimping and pandering. They could have been sentenced to up to 16 months in prison.
Ms. LeBlanc, who hired the prostitutes and acted as the brothel’s madam, kept the names of 250 customers and their sexual preferences on her home computer, vice Officer Bradley Berman said. Call girls carried beepers when they went out to see clients.
″I’ve never seen anything like it,″ Berman said. ″It was in walking distance from the station, and it was the most elaborate operation I’ve seen.″
The bordello, which employed as many as eight women at a time, operated from June through December out of the upstairs portion of a warehouse, Berman said.
According to court documents, call girls split their earnings with either the mother or daughter at the end of each working day, and the establishment also accepted certain charge cards.
The minimum fee to enter the brothel was $100 - which did not include sex. Berman said customers were escorted to one of three bedrooms to watch pornographic movies and later be joined by a ″hostess.″
Ms. LeBlanc kept tabs on the operation using peepholes and an intercom, police said.
Police found out about the brothel after they arrested a prostitute who told them about the operation in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Ms. LeBlanc and Mrs. Williams were arrested in February.
Mrs. Williams did not work as a prostitute, police said. A probation report said she had no criminal record and was employed for 10 years as a court clerk until she had a nervous breakdown in 1972.
Her attorney, Marla Wolfe, asked the court for leniency by terming the mother’s activity ″messengering for her daughter.″
Bruce Wolfe, the lawyer who represented Ms. LeBlanc, said that although his client had been a prostitute, she ″is trying to turn her life around″ and had recently enrolled in a computer school.