A Poughkeepsie man charged by Westchester authorities with running prostitution tours to Asia will have to stand trial on the charges, an appellate court has ruled.
Douglas Allen, 68, claimed that because he was charged and acquitted of similar crimes in Dutchess County in 2009, the Westchester charges amounted to "double jeopardy" and should be tossed out.
A panel of four New York State Appellate Division judges in Brooklyn ruled Friday that the two cases were separate and the charged crimes stemmed from different incidents. Therefore, the legal concept of double jeopardy -- trying someone twice for the same crime -- did not apply, the panel ruled.
"It cannot be said that the Westchester County District Attorney is prosecuting the defendant for the same offense for which he was acquitted in Dutchess County," the judges wrote in their decision.
A spokesman for Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore welcomed the decision.
"What this means is we'll continue in the prosecution of the case," DiFiore spokesman Lucian Chalfen said. "And it's back on track for trial."
Allen, who is out on bail, did not return calls seeking comment. He is represented by the Legal Aid Society, which also did not respond to requests for comment.
Allen was arrested in December 2010 following an undercover sting operation conducted by the district attorney's office. The sting targeted Allen's company, Big Apple Oriental Tours. The undercover investigator exchanged emails with Allen over an extended period in 2010, saying he wanted to go overseas to have sex, for which he would pay money, authorities said.
Allen told the investigator he would provide a guide to lead him to Angeles City, 40 miles north of Manila, capital of the Philippines. Angeles City is known for strip clubs and go-go bars, authorities said.
"The defendant suggested if the undercover finds a 'girl' he likes, he should keep her for the remainder of his stay in the Philippines," DiFiore said in a statement announcing Allen's arrest in 2010. "(Allen) stated that the 'girls' will stay with him all day as long as the fee at the bar is paid."
Allen was indicted on a charge of third-degree promotion of prostitution.
He was acquitted of a similar charge in Dutchess County Court in 2009, five years after he and a former business partner were arrested under similar circumstances.
Allen is due back in Westchester County Court in White Plains Feb. 7, at which time Judge Richard Molea is expected to set a trial date.
Allen faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.