Corpus Christi, Tx., police staged its first sting of johns soliciting prostitutes Dec. 13. A Web site will display the names and mug shots of those charged. The sting resulted in four arrests. A Corpus Christi Caller-Times reporter who was participating in the police department’s ride-along program was present during the events that led to two of the arrests. Caller-Times Editor Libby Averyt said Wednesday that the decision for the reporter to get involved in the activities by posing as a prostitute, which led to the arrests, was a mistake.
“Having a reporter become involved in law enforcement activities was a mistake and will not happen again,” Averyt said. “The thought was to try to give our readers an inside view of a new police initiative, and unfortunately we didn’t think through the situation as well as we should have. For us to maintain our watchdog role, we should not get involved in law enforcement activities and will not in the future.” When police announced in September the stings of local johns would result in their appearing on a police Web site, the Caller-Times contacted the police department to learn more about plans for the operation and wanted to see how the operation worked the first time it was run. It was agreed with Police Chief Pete Alvarez that reporter Venessa Santos-Garza would pose as an undercover prostitute. Police have not yet launched the Web site.