The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office arrested 30 people last week who had thought they were about to have sex with one or two 16-year-old prostitutes.
But nearly half of those who called an online ad were stopped cold -- or nearly so -- after the woman on the phone, who was really an undercover deputy, told them she was underage. One of the men who didn't go all the way was yet another high-school teacher.
The Sheriff's Office released audio to New Times of eight of these near-busts, and we think you'll agree they're worth sharing.
Listen to the sexy-sounding female deputy try to entice these would-be johns with the promise of sex with teens, and judge for yourself whether it's a sense of humanity or fear of getting in big trouble that stops them from going to the girls' hotel room. We're also curious if you think the female deputy goes too far at some points, possibly creating temptation that borders on entrapment.
Who knows -- you might even recognize one of the voices.
Anyone who actually did go up to the room, if you saw the stories from last week, was pounced upon by deputies, arrested, and later charged with soliciting sex from a minor. One of them was Jerry Marfe, a 54-year-old high school teacher from Betty H. Fairfax High School in Laveen. He resigned quickly after his face appeared on the news.
The eight in these recordings, plus the other 17 who declined the offer of underage sex, clearly dodged a bullet. One of them says he's going up to the room, but he apparently didn't. Lieutenant Brandon Jones, an MCSO spokesman, tells us that these eight were part of the group of 25 not arrested. Deputies didn't follow up on any of those who declined, and those investigations stopped.
Go to the next page for the first audio recording. (Click the subtitle below the picture on each page):
This pleasant-sounding fellow is chomping at the bit, but he's taken aback when the deputy tells him she's just 16.
The man with the Indian accent wants to know: Is "everything" included?
"Yeah, except anal," the deputy tells him. She then explains that although she's 16, she's really good at what she does. The man chuckles nervously before backing out.
The deputy uses two methods to let the caller, (who she calls back after the person leaves a message), know that she's underage. First, she lets slip with some clues before explaining outright that she's 16. In this call, the deputy tells the john he could get a discount if he buys her and her girlfriend cigarettes.
There are several interesting features in this call. The potential john tells the deputy that she looks great in the online ad with her cowboy hat, but he wonders whether she's really 18 like the ad says. (The MCSO told New Times a copy of the ad wasn't available for release yet.) When the deputy admits she's not 18, the man asks how much older she is.
"I'm actually younger," she says coyly.
He's surprised in part because, as he tells her, he's a high-school teacher. Her age makes him "really horny," he says, but he thinks she's too young. Still, he wants to know how tall she is, and asks her to send pictures.
The banter between deputies after the john hangs up is amusing, as the girls and a male deputy joke about "sloppy walruses" and other racy-sounding acts.
"I got your cigarettes for you," the would-be john tells the girl after she calls him back. He's nervous, but he tells the girl he'll see her soon and says he's coming up.
"Do you like to be kissed?" this timid-sounding bloke asks the deputy. She wants to know if he wants her and her girlfriend to kiss. He tells her it's him who wants to be kissed.
"Yeah, yeah, we'll kiss you," the deputy tells him. "What else are you looking for?"
This john had apparently been told the deputy's pretend age before he calls back.
"Something you said was a huge, red flag," he whimpers. "There's federal laws at stake -- and everybody's lives."
Note how the deputy seems to grow indignant at one point in the conservation, telling the would-be john that his situation is "judgeable."
In her best "I'm-a-dumb-teen" voice, the deputy explains that she's good at her job and followed advice to do what she likes. But the would-be john is nervous over her age -- he keeps saying he just wants to take her to breakfast and talk.
While it's pathetic that more than half of the callers went ahead with their arrangements, it's good to know some guys have scruples. Or maybe they're just paranoid. Either way, the 25 men who turned down this MCSO siren at least deserve their prize -- of not going to jail.