Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have dismissed charges against six employees of rentboy.com who were accused of promoting prostitution for their work at a website that featured ads from gay escorts.
Owner Jeffrey Hurant was indicted last month and charged with promoting prostitution and money laundering, and the charges against him are still pending.
Prosecutors say the site grossed $10 million since 2010, but the arrests triggered criticism that the government was targeting a long-standing gay website over consensual acts.
The government’s motion to dismiss charges against the six employees was filed and agreed to by Magistrate Lois Bloom on Friday, but not docketed until Wednesday.
“Today is a wonderful day,” said Deborah Colson, the lawyer for Michael Sean Belman, one of the six. “Mr. Belman is thrilled with the outcome and looks forward to moving on with his life.”
James Roth, the lawyer for defendant Clint Calero, said, “We are pleased that the government concluded that Mr. Calero’s role as an employee of Rentboy did not warrant a criminal prosecution.”
A spokeswoman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers did not comment on the reasons for the decision to drop charges.