Pierce County toughens anti-prostitution laws

Staff writerAugust 14, 2013 

Pierce County leaders have made it illegal for suspected prostitutes and their customers to attempt to detect undercover officers.

The County Council voted 4-0 Tuesday night without comment to adopt changes similar to ones approved by Tacoma two years ago and by Lakewood in 2009.

The law makes it illegal to attempt to detect whether a potential prostitute or john is actually an undercover officer by exposing oneself or asking another to do so; asking to be touched sexually or causing another to do so; or requesting to touch or touching another sexually.

The measure also makes it illegal to try to identify an officer posing as a prostitute or john by searching or attempting to search for any item, such as a badge or department-issued firearm, or by using any electronic or other means of communication.

The council approved revisions offered by the Sheriff’s Department and Prosecutor’s Office to make the law more clear and easier to prosecute.

Supporters have said the measure makes the county consistent with the city of Tacoma.

Violating the ordinance is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

steve.maynard@thenewstribune.com

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