A Pittsburgh woman, referred to in the media as the “Monroeville Madam” has been charged with prostitution and possessing instruments of a crime after allegedly arranging to engage in commercial sex with an undercover officer. The woman first gained notoriety after it was uncovered that her and her ex-NFL player boyfriend, John Robert Buczowski, operated a “multimillion-dollar prostitution and cocaine distribution ring” in Monroeville during the early 2000’s.
Over a decade ago, the couple placed ads in the adult classifieds section of the City Paper to attract customers throughout Allegheny County. They also placed ads in the paper to recruit new “employees” to work for them. Their escort service went by the name “Buckwild Entertainment” and did business as “B.A.G. Enterprises, Inc.”, according to the indictment generated by a statewide grand jury. The couple’s enterprise received between 100 and 300 phone calls a day from February 2003 to June 2005, generating an estimated $ 1 million in that span. Drug sales were also a part of the endeavor, as undercover agents were able to purchase cocaine from the pair 11 times.
According to Trib Live, Buczkowski testified against his girlfriend and was sentenced to 90 days of house arrest for his role in the drug and commercial sex ring. The “Monroeville Madam” was sentenced to 3 to 6 years of incarceration and was released after serving three and a half. Following her release, she was arrested again and charged for similar violations. At age 54, Buczkowski was found dead in 2018 from an accidental drug overdose.
It is not uncommon for persons who have been commercially sexually exploited to have difficulty exiting “the life” for economic and psychological reasons. A criminal record and history of incarceration can present a massive barrier to obtaining stable, legal employment. Additionally, the trauma experienced by those in the commercial sex industry can have lasting effects that trigger persons, even those who have been out of “the life” for some time, to return to what feels familiar.
One of the myriad reasons the CSE Institute is a staunch proponent of the Nordic Model, as opposed to legalization or complete decriminalization of the commercial sex industry, is due to the emphasis the Nordic Model puts on providing social services including strategies to exit for prostituted persons. The Nordic Model recognizes that those who sell sex should not be criminalized, but instead be given the tools necessary to successfully exit the commercial sex industry. This legal scheme also keeps criminal penalties for those who purchase and facilitate commercial sex, as those parties are responsible for both driving the market and inflicting harm on prostituted persons to fulfill their own sexual or pecuniary desires. We are hopeful that more jurisdictions will begin to incorporate the Nordic Model into their policing practices, as it is the only legal scheme to address the root causes of commercial sexual exploitation and criminalize those who are truly culpable.
All viewed expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.