From Elizabeth Nolan Brown in Reason
At least twelve more men face felony charges in Washington for posting comments to the now-defunct web forum known as The Review Board (TRB). The dozen defendants, most of whom who will be arraigned in King County District Court on December 14, face one count each of promoting prostitution in the second degree—a charge historically used to target people who profit off of the prostitution of others but more recently favored by King County prosecutors to go after people who write positively online about area prostitution.
Prior to this new wave of charges, the King County Sheriff’s Office has already prosecuted more than a dozen men in 2016 for what amounts to little more than online speech related to prostitution. Many of those men accepted plea deals after the county threatened to add additional charges and a sexual-motivation enhancement (i.e., more prison time and sex-offender status if convicted) for anyone who attempted to fight back but give those who plead guilty lenient sentencing. After initially portraying these men as a despicable ring of international sex-slave circulators, King County wound up letting most of them off with a bit of community service or electronic-home monitoring and an admission to posting on TheReviewBoard.net while knowing that it might “advance” prostitution.