Newspaper employees arrested after running escort ads

by Amanda Ober

Three employees of the Orlando Weekly newspaper have been arrested on charges of aiding and abetting prostitution.
Orlando's Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation arrested Jarrell Brian Martin, 43, the director of classified ads, and account executives Katherine Casey Miller, 27, and Christopher Whiting, 37.

The arrests came as they worked at a job fair sponsored by the paper on Friday.

Investigators claimed the Orlando Weekly's ad department knowingly designed and
placed ads for undercover agents.

They told the newspaper employees they were prostitutes looking to generate some business.

The Orlando Weekly's editor said he thinks the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation has a personal vendetta with the newspaper.

"Orlando Weekly believes these arrests are an outrageous abuse of process and an attempt to censor the first amendment rights of a newspaper that has reported critically on the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation. We're in the process of reviewing the charges and retaining counsel," editor Bob Whitby said.

"What we're saying is they were basically benefiting from crime. From my experience, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation is yet to call out a girl from one of their advertisements in their adult services section and not make an arrest, " Paul Zambouros of the MBI said.

Detectives said the three Orlando Weekly employees arrested had helped design and placed ads for undercover MBI agents who came into the newspaper posing as prostitutes.

"We were saying, 'We want to advertise in your paper so that we can commit prostitution,' and they were OK with that and they made money. That is the issue that we have. The first amendment does not protect anybody for committing violations of the law," Zambouros said.

The MBI said it has sent letters to both Craigslist and the Orlando Weekly requiring that they no longer run these ads.

Craiglist is headquartered in San Francisco so it is out of the MBI's jurisdiction and any legal action would have to be taken by federal agents.