Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 4, 2009

N.Y. official convicted in prostitution case

Charges stemmed from conference in Ashland

A former New York Supreme Court official was sentenced in federal court last month for using his motor home to transport an illegal alien prostitute to a convention that took place in Ashland in 2005.

Michael R. Stebick, 61, of Orchard Park, received four months of home confinement, two years of probation, a $5,000 fine and was ordered to provide 250 hours of community service.

Stebick pleaded guilty in August to charges stemming from a federal investigation into allegations of human trafficking by a nationwide men’s organization known as the Royal Order of Jesters, The Buffalo (N.Y.) News reported.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Stebick also agreed to forfeit the 2000 Challenger motor home he used to transport the prostitute and some club members to a Jesters conference in Ashland in October 2005.

At the time of the incident, Stebick was a clerk to Ronald H. Tills, a New York Supreme Court judge who accepted a plea deal in the same case and is awaiting sentencing, the News reported.

According to the newspaper, the prostitute transported by Stebick was put up in a hotel room by the Jesters during the convention with a sign outside her room that read “$70 an hour.”

Transporting an individual across state lines for purposes of prostitution is a violation of a federal law known as the Mann Act.

Stebick told the judge at his sentencing he had never met the prostitute prior to the trip to Ashland and did not know she was an illegal alien. He also maintained he was acting under Tills’ direction when he agreed to transport the woman, the News reported.

The probe that resulted in Stebick’s guilty plea also snared a former police captain, according to the News. It began when authorities started looking into prostitution and human trafficking activities associated with several massage parlors in Niagra and Erie counties in New York.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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