Woman arrested during prostitution sting speaks out

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

Panama City-- By day, the St. Andrew’s area along Highway 98 in Panama City looks like a safe, bustling business area. But Panama City Police say people engaged in the world's oldest profession take over at night.

"We work with undercover officers to conduct operations to identify both prostitutes and johns," said Panama City Police Deputy Chief, Robert Colbert.

Last Thursday and Friday, police conducted a prostitution sting around the 3400 block of West 98. They arrested 3 women accused of being prostitutes, and 16 men accused of trying to buy sex.

"A lot of those unfortunately are individuals we deal with day in and day out," said Colbert.

Leila Teer is one of those repeat offenders. Since 1998, she's been arrested several times on prostitution charges.

"It's affected my life really bad. I have two small children here, my whole family's here. It's embarrassing," said Teer.

And Teer says it's gotten progressively worse.

"It's really crazy, it really is. These little young girls are out there and they're clueless and it just worries me that one day they may die. They'll get in the wrong vehicle with the wrong guy," said Teer.

"It's like a broken window. If you don't address it, then it's going to evolve into something worse so we're going to maintain a steady attention to it," said Colbert.

Not only are police concerned about related crimes, they're also worried about the city's image to visitors.

"As they cross the Hathaway Bridge and they're coming into Panama City, that's one of the first things they see and we want to make sure they're not being encountered with this type of scenery," said Colbert.

Police say resident and business complaints sparked this latest crackdown.

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  • by MPC Location: USA on Apr 27, 2011 at 08:36 AM
    At least for me, "motive" plays a big part of how I personally feel about crime and criminalization. Interpretation of laws and enforcement vary from state to state, country to country and definitely from levels of financial privilege and race. Profiling is alive and well in the USA even if the politically correct answer is "no" it doesn't exist and, notice I did not say "racial" profiling. If you have enough money you have a much better chance of having a favorable outcome in any court in the land. If you don’t believe it just do some checking about marijuana laws in big college towns across the country, most big college towns have possession laws that amount to a traffic ticket for possession of less that an ounce. Why would you think that is? Could it be that people with influence don’t want their kid’s locked up for something that 20 miles away is a felony? Prostitution is legal in some parts of the USA under certain conditions, why? Or why not? Is this a legal issue or a moral one? Sounds to me like geography. With the privatization of the prison system, the more people in jail the better the bottom line. We are a nation of consumers, capitalization stands for greed plain and simple. And isn’t that one of the seven deadly sins?
  • by MPC Location: USA on Apr 26, 2011 at 02:34 PM
    I donate food every week to the city rescue mission, last month 100 pounds of usable food. I collect coats every year from my family and co-workers for folks that don't have one for winter, last year fifty coats. I would not have opened a can of worms if I didn't have some in my can. As far as pointing fingers, there is no need for me to point a finger at anyone, the ones I speak of do a pretty good job of identifying themselves. My statement is not an accusation but a challenge..... It's easy to sit and do nothing.
    • reply
      by DaveV on Apr 26, 2011 at 09:18 PM in reply to MPC
      A simple "yes, I do contribute" would have been fine. You went from charity to publicity in less than 60 seconds. I just tell everyone I do nothing, I don't care what they think. By the way, you never answered the question of what crimes you find forgivable!
  • by MPC Location: USA on Apr 26, 2011 at 10:43 AM
    It always amazes me that the , "Holier Than Thou" cult always seem to forget the part about love, understanding and forgiveness. I would be willing to bet that the ones full of condemnation would never step forward and actually try to help some of these less fortunate people. It's very easy to point a finger and discount these people, and yes I'm willing to concede they may not have made the best choices in life and may be in a situation that they themselves may have created. I guess it's business as usual, as long as the cable doesn't go out or the mall isn't shut down most wouldn't think of being inconvenienced by someone with nothing.
    • reply
      by DBC on Apr 26, 2011 at 12:57 PM in reply to MPC
      You are SO correct MPC!! The prevailing attitude these days is "I've got mine, to heck with you"!!
    • reply
      by DaveV on Apr 26, 2011 at 02:15 PM in reply to MPC
      I have a question, what have you done to help these unfortunate people? Have you invited them into your home for a meal or a place to sleep for the night? You yourself are sitting there pointing fingers at others ( the hollier than thou cult ), is it ok when you do it to someone not accused of a crime? Would you feel the same way if these were pedophiles that were arrested, and if not which crimes are excusable and which ones aren't?
  • by RussellR Location: Panama City on Apr 26, 2011 at 08:19 AM
    How much did this police sting cost? How many man hours spent arresting horny guys who can't get sex any other way? How many drug deals were made because the police were enforce morality laws? If it is because it looks bad to just set an area where this can go on and let the police spend thier time busting bad guys.
  • by DaveV Location: PC on Apr 26, 2011 at 05:03 AM
    I agree with you Brian. Anyone making a living from illegal activities should be automatically disqualified from public assistance. I don't want my tax dollars going to drug dealers and prostitutes.
  • by Benton Location: PC on Apr 25, 2011 at 07:49 PM
    19 more people will to be put on the sex offender list it looks like.
  • by Brian Location: Panama City on Apr 25, 2011 at 06:19 PM
    Anyone arrested and convicted of prostitution or solicitation should be banned from public assistance like welfare and food stamps forever.
    • reply
      by Monty on Apr 25, 2011 at 07:47 PM in reply to Brian
      Brian..how about being convicted of ANY crime and be banned from public assistance?
      • reply
        by Christine Hovi on Apr 27, 2011 at 05:39 PM in reply to Monty
        Heck why stop there , add traffic tickets, and late fees to the list of banned people , then lets add people who wear green on fridays , ...
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