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Sheriff Munks caught in brothel sting

Original post made by camejo, Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks, on Apr 24, 2007

Channel 5 broke the story last night <Web Link about Sheriff Munks and Undersheriff (and former Redwood City police chief) Bolanos, who were caught in a Vegas brothel that was being raided by police for drugs.

Obviously, neither of these guys are in a position to enforce the law anymore, even if the Vegas police generously extended some professional courtesy and decided to let themgo. They still need to resign.

This also explains why several houses of prostitution fronting as aroma therapy or massage parlors continue to operate.

But what's really amazing is the stupidity of these guys on two levels -- don't they realize that if they get caught, they're risking their jobs? And don't they know that prostitution isn't legal in Vegas -- only northern Nevada. San Mateo County can do better than these two clowns.

Comments (8)

Posted by D-by
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Apr 26, 2007 at 11:54 am

They may be the county's top law enforcement officers, but I completely buy their excuse that they didn't know they were in a brothel. They were naive. They had no idea those women were really hookers. They were just driving around on a Saturday night looking for a massage, somebody to rubdown those tired muscles. We're being too tough on these guys. They just a little dumb.

Posted by Menlo Park resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 27, 2007 at 10:13 am

I agree with D-by in a sense. They were tired after running (I wonder if these guys are in good shape.) and they wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On the other hand, it's a hard to completely forgive naivete in a sheriff. If anyone should be hip to the realities of the street, especially of a Las Vegas street, it ought to be The Law.

Since when is a residence with no signs a massage parlor? Why is it that a sheriff with decades of law enforcement experience didn't notice the incongruity?

This feels a bit like Monday morning quarterbacking, but if I got into a Las Vegas cab -- in a state where prostitution is legal, mind you -- and said to the driver, "I need a massage. Do you know where I can get one?", I'm sorry but the "nudge-nudge, wink-wink" is implied.

You have to be specific, right? You tell the driver that you want a real massage in a legitimate massage parlor. When he pulls up to an unmarked residence far away from downtown, you don't even get out of the car.

You drive home the point and make it absolutely clear that you don't mean brothel. How many requests for a "massage" do Vegas taxi drivers get? How many want a real massage?

If Munks, in his 40s, was recovering from a long run in the desert, and if he is not a regular runner, it's easy to imagine that he may not have been thinking clearly. Hard physical exercise will exhaust your mental faculties. Maybe that explains it.

Posted by Oh give me a break
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 1, 2007 at 10:23 am

I assume that D-by's comment was tongue in cheek. C'mon folks it's absurd to think these guys didn't know what they were getting themselves into. You're suggesting that they spent $20 on taxi fair so they could drive away from the strip which has many wonderful spas right there so they could get a massage in the seedy part of town and they had no idea what was going down. Right. If you believe that then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell you.

And I always thought PT Barnum was exaggerating.

I feel bad for Munks but he should step down into some demoted position. There is no way that he can effectively lead the department anymore because he's lost any ability to make a claim for setting an example and a high bar for integrity. This was just a stupid and clumsy move on his part.

Posted by Menlo Park resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 1, 2007 at 10:51 am

"Oh give me a break" - You're the second person who has suggested to me that there is a bridge in Brooklyn that I might want to buy. The first was when I was 18 and asking for directions to the bridge in NYC.

Speaking of breaks, I like to give them to people when they make stupid but not venal mistakes, like Munks appears to have done.

Give this guy a break. All this talk of resigning. If he is willing to explain himself, that should go a long way toward resolving this.

Posted by Oh give me a break
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 1, 2007 at 11:27 am

If Munks was in almost any other political position, I would have little qualm with cutting him some slack. If he had driven out to one of Nevada's legal brothels I would consider it a completely private matter of his own business. This isn't about prostitution as a moral matter per se, though I think few would dispute the negative impact of prostitution on a neighborhood.

Munk's job is to enforce the law, and he has stupidly ceeded the moral authority to do that. He will never again be able to enforce a prostitution arrest without cries of hipocrisy. It sets a terribly low bar for other officers to be intolerant of corruption. And based on my experience of knowing officers, there are more than a few will have difficulty respecting a man who would so cavilearly risk his family and career.

And I do think my suggestion is cutting him a break: the opportunity to step down into a non-leadership role.

I take no delight in saying all of this. I voted for the guy. But he has let himself, his family, and the officers who serve underneath him.

Posted by Menlo Park resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 1, 2007 at 1:04 pm

I find it a bit of a stretch to convict someone of something that he claims was a case of mistaken identity. How do we know he isn't telling the truth, that he in fact had no intention of going to a brothel but was seeking a massage after a long run in the desert? He is over 50, I've been told. That's hard running for someone of that age and perhaps not very good judgement either.

The charge of hypocrisy doesn't stick if Munks is telling the truth. Nor do the charges of letting down his family and the officers below him.

He needs to be more forthcoming with the press. If he refuses to do that, then he deserves whatever fate comes his way.

Posted by Oh give me a break
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 1, 2007 at 1:40 pm

If you want, I'll cut you an amazing deal of my bridge in NY along with a big red orange one that I own out here. You can make a fortune from collecting the tolls.

I'm not suggesting convicting. The Las Vegas police have already resolved that issue by saying that they weren't going after the Johns. I'm skeptical that there was no preferential treatment but I'll take their word at face value.

I find it a very large stretch to believe that two career law men could not immediately deduce that a shady house with no signage in a residential neighborhood of small apartments was not a place that they should be. And especially if they were really looking for a massage. I've had a lot of massages, and I can't imagine the circumstances under which I would be inclined to leave the superb comfort of a Vegas resort spa in order to get some alternative service. No way, simply not possible. He can claim mistaken intent all he wants, but that just makes him just another John that is not willing to admit the truth.

What's more, I don't think "MP Resident" really believes that it's really a possibility that an honest mistake was made. That's why the first message was about cutting the guy slack. Hey, it's just a couple of good old boys having a little fun. Look the other way, and it'll be ok. It's simply not the standard that we should hold our law enforcement officers to.

He may succeed in holding onto his job for the moment, but I really hope somebody credible runs against him next time out, cuz I guarantee you that if he's still there I'll be making a campaign contribution to his opponent.

Posted by Arrest the johns
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 2, 2007 at 4:32 pm

What makes the entire debacle even more distasteful is that this brothel sting was reportedly an investigation into Asian organized crime rings.

Which means that the prostitutes in question are probably sex slaves: young women brought into the US under false pretences and threatened or coerced into selling themselves in order to pay back their "debt" to the pimps who tricked them into leaving their homeland.

The Chronicle did a series of articles about the sex slave trade. You can see the first of four here: Web Link

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