Police in New York's Nassau County have arrested 104 men in a month-long prostitution sting they're calling "Operation Flush the Johns."
The Nassau County Police Department caught the men by putting ads for escort services on Backpage.com. Undercover officers met the johns in hotel rooms wired with cameras and arrested the men after they offered money for sex, according to the Nassau County District Attorney's Office.
The suspected johns range in age from 17 to 79. They include lawyers, doctors, dentists, professors and college students, among others, according to Newsday.
Each of the men has pleaded not guilty to patronizing a prostitute, a third-degree offense, according to the district attorney's office.
"Sex workers are often vulnerable victims of traffickers and pimps, yet they too often remain the prime targets in prostitution investigations while the johns who fuel the exploitation are treated as mere witnesses," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a press release. "My office and the police department are turning the tables on the illogical and immoral nature of that equation."
While announcing the arrests, the district attorney displayed a board featuring photos of all the men. Brian Griffen, an attorney representing several of the accused, told local TV station News 12 Long Island that was going too far.
"When you start to punish people or humiliate people before they've had their day in court, it violates that system of justice," Griffen said.
Rice, however, told the station displaying the mugshots was legal and would hopefully deter others from seeking prostitutes' services.