Judge delays prelim hearing for woman accused of pandering

Tuesday, July 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An Oklahoma County judge on Monday delayed the preliminary hearing for an Ardmore woman accused of running illegal escort services.

Special District Judge Donald Deason recessed the proceeding for a week after a key prosecution witness in the case against Janet Katherine Brown didn't show.

Prosecutors charged Brown, 51, with pandering for allegedly procuring prostitutes and providing them to thousands of people in the Oklahoma City area.

Deason heard testimony from an Oklahoma City undercover police officer and the case officer about a sting operation that resulted in Brown's Dec. 28 arrest.

Prosecutors didn't get to interview a woman who worked for Brown at the time of the sting until a break in the hearing around noon, Assistant District Attorney Richard Wintory said of Kristie Lynn Huff.

Prosecutors didn't know Huff's new telephone number, he added.

Defense attorney David Henry said he questions whether Huff will provide the testimony prosecutors need to get Brown to trial.

``No one has testified Janet Brown provided sex for her clients,'' Henry said. ``You heard the judge _ he wants to hear that from Kristie Huff. I don't think you're going to hear that.''

Wintory would not comment on whether further investigation is needed in the case.

``We believe the evidence shows, that even though structured to look legal, Janet Brown made significant money providing women for sex for her own personal gain,'' he said.

Oklahoma City police inspector John Bohan testified that on Oct. 12, he requested a woman from one of Brown's escort services to come to an eastside motel room he had rented for the undercover operation.

When that woman, Huff, arrived Bohan said he paid her a $135 fee plus $5. He said he also gave her a $200 tip. He went to the bathroom and notified his backup officers to come to the motel room so the arrest could be made.

``She was very upset, surprised and worried,'' Bohan said. ``She wanted to assist with law enforcement instead of going to jail.''

Officer Jason Hodges, the case officer, said investigators found spiral notebooks when they searched Brown's Ardmore home. The notebooks had the client's name, a female assigned to the client, the date, the time and prices, Hodges said.

``She kept fairly detailed records back to 1997,'' Hodges said. ``We estimated about 10,000 entries.''

Hodges said Brown told him that employees who had sex with the clients were fired. He said she later told him that she hadn't fired all her employees who admitted having sex because she felt sorry for them.