Like water for sex

Arkansas mayor solicits two women after they fall behind on water bills.

Katharine Mieszkowski
May 19, 2006 11:09PM (UTC)

Broadsheet reader Sandra Miller wrote in to alert us to this sorry tale: The 72-year-old mayor of Waldron, Ark., allegedly solicited two women for sex after they fell behind on their water bills, according to the Associated Press. One of the women told investigators in an affidavit that she had been having sex with Troy Anderson for eight to 10 years. "She said Anderson paid her $25 per encounter and $60 for a late water deposit. He also allowed her to change the name on her overdue water bill to keep the service running, the affidavit said," according to the AP. The other woman refused Anderson's solicitation, and both women wore recording devices to help bust him.

The Smoking Gun has the warrant for Anderson's arrest, which goes into all the sordid details. The mayor has been charged with two counts of abusing the public trust, a felony, and four counts of patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor.


Reader Miller objected to the charges: "This mayor has been coercing sex from these women to keep their utilities on; when he gets caught, he gets charged not with extortion, which keeps the crime where it belongs -- squarely on this shoulders -- but soliciting a prostitute, which spreads the crime from his shoulders to his victims," she wrote in an e-mail. "Nowhere in the story does it say that the women involved are professional prostitutes. Apparently when the guy was booked, the police decided 'Hey, he's paying for sex, that makes her a whore.' Unbelievable. Talk about blaming the victim."

I think that Miller has a point, but wonder if there are legal reasons for the "patronizing a prostitute" charges, rather than extortion. What do other Broadsheet readers think?

Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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