We need to talk about s-e-x.
But, for starters, your personal preferences or prejudices on this topic really don't matter.
Whether you are libertine or somewhat libertarian, censorious or just a bit strait-laced, you should know this county was well-served by law enforcement's investigation into the sex trade at several local coffee huts.
Some people seem willing to shrug at the situation and categorize it as just a little naughtiness, as old as human history.
They are right about one thing: Flesh and sin will continue to be sold, traded and brokered no matter how many brothels, clubs or barista stands are raided. Tamp down prostitution or exploitation in one place and, like an unwelcome tangle of morning glory, it emerges in another.
Most localities, with inconsistent nudges from the judicial branch, have found ways to define and accommodate "legal" adult entertainment. And, yes, sex is an open part of our nation's commercial landscape: TV ads for little blue pills, erotic movies-on-demand at major hotel chains, an array of pornographic Internet web sites and on and on... .
It would be disingenuous to equate the coffee hut raids with the fervent book-burning, film-banning crusades once associated with groups like the National Legion of Decency. What happened in Snohomish County last week was policing.
If information released by law enforcement is accurate, crimes were being committed. And nothing proclaims the corrupt nature of these operations louder than management's alleged willingness to "reward" a sheriff's sergeant for providing tips about police surveillance.
It is unlikely the Java Juggs proprietor and her manager can pretend they were running legal retail outlets -- places that put their servers in skimpy outfits simply to attract more coffee drinkers. You don't cut dirty deals with police for that.
And, unless some other explanation emerges, the sergeant probably knew exactly what he was protecting. Those crimes, listed in the jail-booking documents, included promoting and permitting prostitution.
In the sex trade, there seems to be a genealogy of corruption.
The Java Juggs proprietor reportedly had connections with Talents West, a sex-oriented business operated by the Colacurcio family. The family also ran several nude nightclubs, including Honey's in south Snohomish County.
Police agencies spent years investigating vice and organized crime at the Colacurcio clubs, and federal prosecutors eventually shut them down in 2010.
Now, let us accept that sex, itself, is not an evil thing. But as a business model, it again -- predictably -- appears to have brought corrupt, lewd and criminal behavior into our community.
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