This story can be filed under the "strange and unusual" crimes, but those potentially committing the misconduct may surprise you. Undercover officers in Hawaii are granted legal immunity from prostitution laws in order to have intercourse with hookers – assuming it’s “required” as part of their covert investigation.
According to a report from The Associated Press on Thursday, as carried on MSN News, police officers in Honolulu “have urged lawmakers to keep an exemption in state law that allows undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations, touching off a heated debate over the provision.”
Call it a “get out of the seedy hotel free” card.
Legislators in Hawaii initially did away with the bizarre provision when they revisited laws attempting to crack down on pimps and johns.
But Honolulu police officers stepped forward and argued the exemption must remain. The revised proposal will be presented to the state Senate committee today.
Honolulu Police Maj. Jerry Inouye told the House Judiciary Committee why officers must be allowed to have sex while working – even if they do not actually engage in relations with the women (or men).
“The procedures and conduct of the undercover officers are regulated by department rules, which by nature have to be confidential,” Inouye said. “Because if prostitution suspects, pimps and other people are privy to that information, they're going to know exactly how far the undercover officer can and cannot go.”
In others words, suspects would instantly know who is undercover if the officers are procedurally prohibited from “starting” the act which constitutes the crime.
Derek Marsh, who trains police officers on human trafficking cases and who has twice been called before Congress as a subject matter expert on sex crimes, called the law “antiquated at best,” and said that police can easily do their jobs without it.
“It doesn't help your case, and at worst you further traumatize someone. And do you think he or she is going to trust a cop again?” asked Marsh, adding that it's an invitation for misconduct.