"I think that Mr.
Booska has learned his lesson," Chittenden County Prosecutor T.J. Donovan
said. "You can't turn a blind-eye when your tenants are engaged in
Thomas Booska says he
won't admit to or deny allegations that he knowingly allowed massage parlor
workers to exchange sex acts for money at his rental property in Williston. But
he is willing to accept the consequences. The 68-year-old pleaded no contest to
one misdemeanor count Friday. As part of a deal with prosecutors, he donated
$500 to a charity that fights human trafficking. He will avoid serving a
two-year sentence and the record will be expunged if he can avoid further
"I think there was a
rush on both sides and it just made sense to resolve it this way. Mr. Booska's
never had any problems before, he'll never have any problems again and he'll
come out of this with a clean record," said Kurt Hughes, Booska's lawyer.
"If this case went to
trial, we would have frankly had a lot of challenges given the fact that we
don't have witnesses anymore," Donovan said.
Though his criminal case
is closed, federal prosecutors are demanding the deed to the Williston Spa
property because its operators allegedly used human trafficking to bring in sex
workers. But Donovan says the state won't prosecute them because they can't be
found. Operators packed and fled, which is common in cases like these.
"We license barbers;
we license tattoo artists. And getting a massage-- in my opinion-- is a much
more intimate experience than getting your hair cut," Donovan said.
Donovan says a simple
change like licensure would discourage and help prosecute prostitution
ring-leaders. He says more importantly, it could help free the women operators
have trapped in the industry.
Booska says he will fight
the feds to keep his property. There's no timeline yet for when he may go to
court for that part of the case.
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:42:02 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:40:46 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:38:52 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>