A prostitute testified Monday that she gave a former Dallas vice detective sexual favors in exchange for advice about how to avoid arrest and tips about his unit’s raids and investigations.
The woman, who asked that her identity not be revealed, testified on the opening day of the federal trial of Jose Luis Bedoy. He was arrested last year and charged with three counts of obstruction of an official proceeding and one count of obstruction of due administration of justice. He later resigned from the Dallas Police Department as a senior corporal.
Evidence that the U.S. attorney’s office is presenting during the trial also includes numerous text messages and recorded phone calls between Bedoy and the prostitute he allegedly had sex with in exchange for police protection.
The government’s case, however, may be hurt by disclosures last week that the FBI’s two key witnesses — including Monday’s witness — have continued to work as prostitutes while acting as FBI informants. Bedoy’s attorneys sought a delay in the trial to be able to research prosecutors’ “eleventh hour” revelations. But U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn denied the request.
Bedoy, 40, met the woman in early 2009 during a raid on an adult entertainment business, court records show. He helped her when she tried to recover property that was seized in the raid.
Bedoy later contacted her to say he would like to get a massage from her, federal authorities said. That gradually led to more regular contact between the two over several years in which Bedoy alerted her to police investigations and then sought “massages” from her in return, prosecutors said.
On Monday, the woman described the relationship. She said Bedoy once helped her identify a client as an undercover police officer. He also told her when his vice unit was on duty so she could work certain days and hours without risk of being arrested, she said.
Once Bedoy went to her apartment to tell her how to detect an undercover officer, she said.
“If he was an undercover, he wouldn’t let me touch his private parts,” she said.It's hard to guesstimate how often such line-crossing occurs when it comes to policing the oldest profession. Long-time readers may recall a study out of Chicago finding that three percent of tricks turned by prostitutes without a pimp in their dataset were for police officers in exchange for protection. And we've seen allegations that the feds intervened to protect an informant running a prostitution ring in San Antonio.
Either way, that doesn't change the big picture Catch-22: Criminalization of prostitution makes offenders out of victims in ways that further the aims of sex traffickers, making women less likely to cooperate with police or prosecutors. It's one thing for the Lege to talk about diversion programs, another thing to fund them. Make the path out easier and perhaps more women will follow it.
In the meantime, requiring police to wear body cams would reduce the overall number of opportunities for such misdeeds. These are coercive methods exercised exclusively in the shadows; they're arguably best prevented by exposure to disinfecting sunlight, which is an added benefit of this case making it all the way to trial.