Civil Liberties

Arizona Cops Publicize All Phone Contacts of Suspected Sex Businesses

A prostitution witch hunt in Tucson uncovered ample police corruption, yet it's the civil liberties of citizens suffering a blow.


This week in serious civil-liberties violations in the name of stopping sex, the city of Tucson, Arizona, has released information on hundreds of people with "ties" to suspected sex workers. The move is part of a years-long investigation into a handful of massage parlors that may offer more than just muscle-pain relief. Obviously, such nefarious criminal activity (hand jobs—for money? the horror!) warrants extreme measures, which is why Tucson cops couldn't just stop after raiding the six massage parlors in January and seizing the owners' assets. Now the department has publicized the names of all the phone contacts stored in 15 cellphones seized during the raids. 

"The inclusion of information in this list is in no way indicative of involvement in criminal activity," said Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor. 

That should make the named contacts feel better, right? We're not saying you're necessarily criminals and whores, just that you might be…

Tucson police have also released the names of 14 alleged customers of the "illicit massage parlors," because getting a massage is apparently now grounds for public shaming at the hands of the state. (Due process? LOL.) And despite the fact that no arrests have been made, the state has seized one home, two vehicles, $15,000 in cash, and a bevy of personal property from those suspected of heading up the alleged prostitution ring. 

Meanwhile, two Tucson police officers have resigned and five more are on leave due to suspected involvement with the massage parlors. The names of the officers won't be released until a full investigation and appeals process has been resolved, Villaseñor reported in June.