At the risk of appearing obsessive about the secrets of Freemasonry and the sexual proclivities of public servants, the research team have discovered a curious little known pastime of an exotic branch of American masonry.
Members of the law and law enforcement figured in December in a curious sting in Buffalo, New York.
It appears 4 massage parlors in Niagara Falls, Wheatfield, Lockport and the Town of Tonawanda were raided on Dec. 10, after a 15-month investigation into prostitution allegations. One of the "working girls" who was arrested ,who, no doubt in an attempt to cut some slack told of a road trip across State Lines she took with some regular customers, a retired Lockport Police Capt. John Trowbridge and retired Judge Ronald H. Tills amongst others. Under the Federal Mann Act it is illegal to transport a woman over state lines for the purposes of prostitution.
This, a form of sex tourism, is of course a putative charge against Mr Spitzer.
The purpose of the trip, taken in a motor home, was a meeting (location / date time as yet unknown) of the Royal Order of Jesters whose motto is "Mirth is king", where it is alleged the woman was paid to perform sexual favours.
The little known (and even less understood) Royal Order of Jesters is a nationwide not for profit organisation with 191 chapters associated with the Masons with some 23,500 members who must each be a member of the Shrine of North America and the Masons.
As a result agents from the FBI and U.S. Border Patrol have been investigating the local Jesters chapter, which is known as the Jesters Buffalo Court No. 22. They soon discovered that the owner of the motor home was Michael Stebick, a part-time law clerk in the state courts in Buffalo who has previously been Judge Till's law clerk.
The Judge had been doing some work as a US$300 a day judicial hearing officer and Stebick was a criminal prosecutor with the Erie County district attorney's office. In recent years, he had worked for the state courts part time, evaluating pistol permit applications.
Both men resigned in March when press reports appeared in Buffalo newspapers.
An intriguing connection is that Congressman Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, worked, when a student for Tills whom he praised as a "Valuable mentor" during a session of Congress on Dcember 5th 2005 and spoke of his community work and as a Director of "Buffalo Court 22 of Jesters."
On 20th March 2008 Buffalo News reported that retired Lockport Police Capt.John Trowbridge, 60, pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the federal law that prohibits transporting a woman over state lines for prostitution.
Trowbridge admitted to District Judge William M. Skretny that he participated in two separate road trips when women were transported out of state for prostitution purposes. One trip was to Kentucky in 2005 and the second was to Pennsylvania in 2006. He also agreed that ..." It was customary for these men and others, who are also members of a men's organization (The Royal Order of Jesters), to bring women to some of their meetings, intending for the women to engage in sexual intercourse and other sexual activity with the organization's members in exchange for money."
According to his plea agreement, Twobridge waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a 1 count felony, for which the maximum possible sentence is imprisonment for up to 10 years, a $250,000 fine, a mandatory $100 special assessment and three years probation. Read the plea agreement here. This involves a "Waiver of Indictment" read it here.TV reports say he will get 1 1/2 years and a US$30,000 fine.
U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny accepted Trowbridge’s guilty plea and scheduled sentencing at 9 am on July 31.
This is not the first such event that hit the courts , during a federal court case in Milwaukee, Wis., in February 1990, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a woman admitted to a federal judge that she ran an interstate prostitution business and was hired to provide prostitutes for Jesters conventions in New Orleans, Houston, Chicago and other locations, including some in other countries.
The newspaper reported that the woman, speaking at her sentencing, told the judge that "well-to-do businessmen, mayors and aldermen" were among the Jesters' members, and that uniformed police officers sometimes provided security at the events.
There was also a remarkable news story from Winnipeg in 2001 about a raunchy Shriners fest involving lap dancers and odd activities with beer bottles and oral sex.
2 days after Trowbridge fessed up OP-ed news reported a curious legal case in the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division. Case number 07-21228, list 19 witnesses who are believed to be members of the Royal Order of Jesters (ROJ) AKA Shriners AKA Masons, who are expected to testify about fishing trips to Brazil. This an article "Masonic Jesters to Testify about Illegal Drugs, Child Prostitution?" (members) by Sandy Frost - From http://sandyfrost.newsvine.com Copyright © 2008 by Sandy Frost. Used by permission.
The case involves a libel/slander complaint which was filed on May 11, 2007 by Richard W. Schair and Wet-A-Line Tours, L.L.C., plaintiffs, who allege that they were libelled and slandered by Amazon Tours, Inc., defendant, owned by Philip Marstellar, President and Schair is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $75,000. (original complaint here)
Their company website says Richard Schair, founder of Wet-A-Line Tours, LLC, is an experienced professional tournament fisherman and ex-BASS Pro. He started fishing as a child and has continued throughout his entire life. His career includes not only tournament victories in fresh water but in salt water as well.
Approximately 8 years ago, the company switched it’s primary focus to the Amazon River Basin and the incredible Peacock Bass. At present, Wet-A-Line Tours is the exclusive representative for the Santana Yacht Line and under Mr. Schair’s direction has developed the “Gold Standard” for fishing in the Amazon region
The complaint alleges that Amazon Tours, Inc. told a group at the Miami International Airport that Schair was smuggling drugs and was using the yachts that the clients stay onboard in Brazil to move illegal drugs and that they should avoid booking any tours with the Wet-A-Line Tours, L.L.C. because of Schair's "drug connections."
Amazon answered that Schair is not entitled to any relief due to the "doctrine of unclean hands," and demanded a jury trial and submitted a Defendants' Pretrial Witness List on December 20, 2007 that lists the name, address and phone number of those so called and the subject of expected testimony. Of the 57 witnesses named, 19, or one third of them, are believed to be members of the Royal Order of Jesters. The witness list is here and contains no doubt for US citizens some fascinating names one of them is given as Don Anderson, Albuquerque, NM.
The witness list states that 19 of the witnesses were on a fishing trip to Brazil in August / SEptember 2007. 2 boats were supplied one for the Jesters and one for 20 or so girls.
Also named on the witness list are five Jane Does, 1 - 5, who each "has personal knowledge of prostitution, minor prostitution, use of illegal drugs, and/or entry into Indian reservations by Schair and/or his customers."
Five girls gave statements to Brazil federal police officers last year who are investigating "minor Indian and other girls living near the rivers in the region of the Municipality of Autazes/AM who became victims of sexual exploitation by North-American foreign tourists."
These girls told the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, Federal Police Department that they were, at the time of the alleged minor prostitution, aged 13, 14, 16. One of the 16 year olds stated that her 14 year old sister was also recruited. All the girls state they were lured onto the fishing boat by someone named "Richard."
The 13 year old reported that she was a victim of sexual abuse perpetuated by a group of foreigners, North Americans, who asked for her services aboard their fishing vessel, the Amazon Santana. The statements (oringinally in Portguese and translated) provide a sickening and through tale of the activities of Mr Scheir, his company and the autumnal trips of bass fishermen and their treatment of indigenous children. Not for the squeamish.
The statements of the girls can be read here
Another witness is Cindi Truhn of Georgia who is a former employee of Wet Line and was involved in booking trips including the one by the Royal Order of Jesters. Photographs from a ROJ tour are available here.
Sandy Frost also has a very long and detailed examination Jesters Exposed at News Vine Friday February 15th 2008. She examines the tax records in details of the ROJ which includes exemption from US$12,000 property taxes on their Indianapolis HQ - which is used a a business office by Jesters executive director Alex Rogers, who is also an attorney and past potentate and Texas attorney Ron Pruitt have listed their business addresses and phone numbers with the Indiana Supreme Court Roll of Attorneys and the Texas Bar Association as Jesters’ headquarters in Indiana and Texas.
She points out that getting laid, drunk and competing in oral sex competitions may not be illegal but tax exemption status doesn't stretch that far.
" Cassandra Sandy" is a Navy vet and says here role models are Woodward and Bernstein and Hunter S. Thompson. Read more about this indefatigable lady who has been chasing the Shriners for a long time.
Meanwhile here is a fascinating case from New York State .... October 23rd 2003 from the office of Mr Cuomo..
"Attorney General Spitzer today announced that a Monroe County couple were arrested and arraigned on a previously sealed indictment filed by an Erie County Special Grand Jury, charging them both with running a prostitution business in Erie, Monroe and Niagara counties.
The defendants, Andrew Tubiolo, 33, and his wife Jennifer, 30, are each charged with two counts of Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, both are class "D" felonies. They were arraigned on October 22, before Supreme Court Justice Ronald Tills in Erie County Court, who set bail for Mr. Tubiolo at $10,000; Ms. Tubiolo's bail was set at $5,000."
Two fucking hypocrites in one brief statement.
The US State Department have a site on Child Sex tourism The Facts About Child Sex Tourism ... "Tourists engaging in CST often travel to developing countries looking for anonymity and the availability of children in prostitution. The crime is typically fueled byweak law enforcement, corruption, the Internet, ease of travel, and poverty. These sexual offenders come from all socio-economic backgrounds and may hold positions of trust."