Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pimp my income

There by the grace of God go I.

A veteran sportswriter for the leading newspaper in New Hampshire, the Union Leader, was arrested Wednesday for recruiting women for prostitution. In other words, for pimping.

Times are tough in the journalism business these days. Salaries have been frozen or cut. There's been layoffs. I know a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, but pimping? I don't know even know what that pays these days. Do you need references? A resume?

Kevin Provencher, 50, was arrested after allegedly using web sites including Craigslist to recruit women for prostitution.

He has been charged with two felonies. If convicted, Provencher faces a prison term of five years and a $5,000 fine on each charge. He was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail following arraignment on two charges of deriving income from prostitution.

Essex County Assistant District Attorney Michelle Defeo said, “This defendant was the ringleader of this operation.”

Police said about five women worked for Provencher and two of them will be witnesses. Provencher allegedly recruited the women on Craigslist and arranged for them to meet him at a Manchester hotel, wearing specified clothing, where he would “audition” them.

Police said he used the Marriott, Spring Hill Suites and Fairfield Inn for the operation until one prostitute complained about the long drive from Quincy to Manchester. Provencher then allegedly moved his operation to Andover, Mass.

Police started their investigation in February after employees at the local Spring Hill Suites reported a possible prostitution ring there. Police said they set up operations June 11 at the hotel and observed men coming and going from a room. Defeo said law enforcement authorities "could clearly hear activities consistent with sex."

The Union Leader's management declined to comment but issued this statement: "Mr. Provencher has been a valued employee for many years. He is innocent until proven guilty. However, given the nature and seriousness of the charges, he is suspended until further notice."

Provencher has worked at the Union Leader for more than 25 years, the last 23 as a full-time sports reporter.

He has been the paper’s beat reporter covering the Manchester Monarchs since the American Hockey League franchise’s inception in 2001, and has been its primary motor sports reporter since 1990.

He has won four New Hampshire Sportswriter of the Year awards from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. His work has been honored on several occasions by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.

Here may be the worst part of all. When the Union-Leader contacted his Provencher's home, a woman who answered the phone said, "I'd like to talk to him about that."

I bet she does.

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