Prostitutes and Politicians

5 Oct

On Friday, former Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa was sentenced to one year federal incarceration and three years probation for marriage and bankruptcy fraud. At the center of her crimes was a sham marriage she paid for as a path to legal immigration. Before she was forced into resignation, Rosa was the first Dominican born woman to hold state office in New York.

Rosa, along with several former legislative colleagues, pleaded that the court consider a sentence of probation so that she could continue parenting her 16 year old son and caring for her ailing mother. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called her a phony. The judge handing down the sentence claimed leniency would do insult to all of those immigrants who pursue legal means to citizenship in this country.

Legal means to U.S. citizenship? This clearly coming from someone who has never explored these illusive legal means to U.S. citizenship. For most people, the only such legal means to U.S. citizenship is the privilege of an American falling in love with you. And, not just any American, but the right kind of American. An American who has the proper papers themselves to expand their status to you. Also, essentially, an American who is the opposite sex to yours, or at least the sex listed on your government documents.

Gabriela Rosa used money to gain that kind of love from someone. The kind that would make them feel so close to another that they would bind themselves legally and under the watchful eyes of Homeland Security to that special person. Money has a way of inspiring that kind of love; ask any prostitute.

Despite the criminal charges against her, the guilty pleas and the prison sentence, Rosa’s citizenship is already secured. She will not face deportation. One can only hope that upon resuming life after prison her mother will still be around and that she hasn’t missed too much of her young son’s life.

She could have avoided incarceration all together by taking up the offer to wear a wire. Despite being surrounded by corruption amongst her in the New York State Legislature, she was never implicated in any of it. And, despite the temptation to avoid or lessen her criminal penalties, Rosa was not a snitch.

Meanwhile, another tearful woman, Kristin Davis, also got a prison sentence. Davis – made famous as the Manhattan Madame who supplied prostitutes to her later opponent in the race for City Comptroller, Eliot Spitzer – will get locked up for two years. This time not for prostitution but for selling prescription pills. Davis said she only ever started selling the pills after suffering for four months in Rikers for promoting prostitution.

She too, like Rosa, begged for leniency. She said, “One hour in solitary confinement in Rikers was hell.” She said she came out of the prison pretty messed up and was trying to clean up her act by pursuing a career in cosmotology. Although the judge chalked up Davis’ crimes to greed, Bharara might have agreed with Davis on this one. He’s insisting on cleaning up the infamous institution, shining a light on “A deep culture of violence” and misuse of solitary confinement, amongst other criticisms.

Yet another New York elected official, one of Rosa’s colleagues in the Assembly, William Scarborough, got busted last week charged with 23 state and 11 federal crimes. Scarborough pleaded not-guilty to all charges revolving around the claim that he collected over $40,000 in falsified reimbursements.

If found guilty he will face up to 37 years in prison although, in the meantime, he will run unopposed in the upcoming election to regain his seat in January. There he will join his colleagues in the State legislature, Tom Libous and John Sampson, who also managed to stave of investigation and indictments long enough to return to their publicly funded elected positions.

Thus further blurring the line between prostitutes and politicians in New York State.


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