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New York Couple Plead Guilty in Sex ‘Research’ Case

October 23, 1989

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) _ A New York couple charged in a phony sex research scheme pleaded guilty to prostitution today and were fined $2,500 each.

Rodney Thorp Wood and Nancy Steffen Wood were accused of paying college men at the University of Oregon to have sex with Ms. Wood while her husband recorded the encounters and took photographs.

Ms. Wood, 44, approached young men on the Eugene campus and claimed she and her 60-year-old husband were conducting research into the ″sexual potential of the mature female.″ They were cited by police Sept. 16 at a Eugene hotel.

The couple entered pleas this morning to one count of prostitution each. Lane County Circuit Judge Jack Mattison imposed the sentence recommended by prosecutors and the couple’s attorney.

Wood was suspended as director of anesthesiology at Southampton Hospital on New York’s Long Island after the incident became public.

Defense attorney Richard Urrutia said this morning that his clients, who live in Southampton, N.Y., never intended to break the law. He said they had ″suffered under the extraordinary sensational press and television coverage.″

Police said they had evidence the couple intended to carry on their ″research project″ at other West Coast campuses.

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