A group of sex workers and other advocates on Thursday criticized the conviction of an Ohio woman for killing a Chicago-area high school teacher who solicited her for sex in 2014.
About two dozen people gathered at Daley Plaza in a show of solidarity for Alisha Walker, who received a 15-year prison sentence earlier this month for fatally stabbing Alan Filan, a longtime teacher at Brother Rice High School in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community area.
Demonstrators said that she was unfairly prosecuted for defending herself against a client who attacked her and that her case illustrates a pattern of discrimination against sex workers. Several people penned letters of encouragement and planned to send those, writing materials and money for Walker’s commissary account in prison.
Walker is incarcerated at Logan Correctional Center in downstate Lincoln.
“We could all be Alisha,” said Cathryn Berarovich, 25. “Because our work is criminalized, there is no recourse for when bad things happen to us. We’re standing up for someone who did what she had to do to survive, then was punished for surviving.”
uthorities have said Filan, 61, had invited Walker and another woman to his Orland Park home Jan. 18, 2014, and agreed to pay each $150 for 30 minutes of sex.
Walker’s attorney argued a confrontation arose when the women refused Filan’s requests to have unprotected sex. Walker’s attorneys said she wrestled a knife away from Filan and stabbed him in self-defense.