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Dooley Attack Ad Accuses Stenger of Defending Human Trafficking Ring [VIDEO]

Categories: Politics

antistengerad.png
YouTube
The Charlie Dooley campaign's latest ad.
After weeks of running feel-good, "Team Dooley" campaign spots, County Executive Charlie Dooley went on the offensive Wednesday with a campaign ad accusing challenger Steve Stenger of using victim-blaming tactics when he defended human traffickers as an attorney.

Stenger has released two attack ads of his own accusing Dooley's administration of turning victims of domestic violence away from the county shelter. Now, Dooley's campaign is trying to turn Stenger's words against him, casting his professional defense of an egregious prostitution ring as proof of his personal leanings.

"I am astounded that someone who says these things you're going to hear in this video thinks they are qualified to be county executive," Dooley's communications director Linda Goldstein says. "It doesn't matter who he defended. It matters if his defense was ethical."

Dooley did not attend the press conference about the new ad, citing a previous commitment.

See also: St. Louis County Wants to Expand Forensic Computer Lab to Fight Online Sex Trafficking

The new anti-Stenger ad harkens back fourteen years to the case of the Evans family, twelve male family members convicted of enslaving more than 50 women and girls into sex trafficking. The family ran a trafficking, prostitution and money-laundering ring for nearly twenty years until an investigation launched by the Maryland Heights Police Department unraveled it.

The family's defense attorneys, including Stenger, dismissed the forced prostitution claims with the same victim-blaming logic women's advocates have fought against here for a decade, painting the women and girls as love-struck accomplices who choose to sell their bodies for exciting perks, including cars, clothes and jewelry.

"It's a social unit they chose to live in," Stenger said about the victims of the prostitution ring in a March 2000 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article. "This was a lifestyle they chose."

The truth, eventually revealed in court, was much darker. The women and girl victims -- many of whom were runaways or drug addicts -- worked twelve-hour days and gave all their money to their pimps, who kept the women in line with beatings, death threats and psychological intimidation.

One of the victims, a fifteen-year-old girl named Montrice Bible who ran away to become a prostitute, shot herself in the temple with her pimp's gun after he beat her and used the money she earned to buy houses, cars and clothes.

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YouTube
Dooley appears in his attack ad against Stenger.
Bible's story is shocking, but the Dooley campaign seems to hope associating Stenger with clients he was obligated to defend fourteen years ago will sink his chances at the polls.

Stenger called the ad a character assassination and said his comments in court were taken out of context.

"I think this ad rises to the level of defamation," Stenger said, according to St. Louis Public Radio. "I believe Mr. Dooley feels he's losing this election and he's taking a wild swing with this ad."

Even Goldstein, Dooley's communications director and the former mayor of Clayton, admits that lawyers are bound to defend their clients. But his willingness to blame victims to help accused human traffickers went a step too far, she says.

"Stenger's approach is the same thing as saying a woman deserved to be raped because of what she was wearing, and it's about as ridiculous as Todd Akin's 'legitimate rape' comment," she says. "If the best defense he had was the outdated blame the victim defense, then he's either not really a very good lawyer or he just didn't care."

Dooley's campaign didn't rule out releasing more attack ads in the weeks before the August 5 primary election. Both camps have a similar war chest to spend in the final stretch: Dooley reported $479,307 and Stenger reported $477,654 as of June 30, according to St. Louis Public Radio.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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29 comments
Virginia Superwolf
Virginia Superwolf

If you've noticed, the only people who run for political office are always very partisan. We need less extremists/quacks.

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

I want a third BETTER option. I'm so tired of voting AGAINST someone rather than FOR someone. Why doesn't anyone GOOD ever run in STL?

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

no one...NO ONE...should be in any public office over 6 years max...there should be a law...

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

He was court appointed with 19 other lawyers. 20 in total. Dooley is a crook and should be in jail

OGilliams Irish Dump Gilliam
OGilliams Irish Dump Gilliam

Stenger. Dooley is a crook who hasn't been caught Untill he is out of office. Same guy as Freeman Bosley

Bill Taden
Bill Taden

Why do we continue to vote for the lesser of 2 evils? Sorry, allergic to bullshit and this story is just full of it...

Virginia Superwolf
Virginia Superwolf

Dooley is going wayyyy below the belt and playing dirty. Stenger was doing his professional duty as an attorney to defend his client (the kingpin). What I don't like about Stenger, in the past he tried to weaken the smoke-free air ordinance passed by STL Co. a few years ago, while Dooley tends to be a solid ally when it comes to the important public health and welfare issue of secondhand smoke. But this is stooping very low - Dooley might have just done Stenger a favor...

Suzanne Lorenz Seibel
Suzanne Lorenz Seibel

Wasn't Stenger the court appointed public defender? You know, "if you can't afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you"?

James Stinson
James Stinson

I'm with Anne Klein, can we have a third option? Or better yet, dispose of the job title completely; put the wasted money that they call a salary to good use.

Kishsa Robinson
Kishsa Robinson

Leaning toward Stenger just because of the negative ad about him. I'm completely against negative campaigns.

Marc D McNew
Marc D McNew

I don't vote for idiots, liars, cheats. So no one gets my vote

Valerie Perrotta Klipfel
Valerie Perrotta Klipfel

Pathetic, Charlie. You DO understand both parties have a right to an attorney under our legal system? From what I hear, you might need one soon yourself with all the investigations surrounding your actions while in office. . . . I guess there are to many skeletons in the closet to look at your 10 year record.

Lisa Burnett Robinson
Lisa Burnett Robinson

Stenger's vitriol to the media outside the courtroom IN NO WAY served to defend his clients inside the courtroom. The ease with which he looked directly into the camera and lied at the expense of what he knew to be victimized women and children is worse than troubling, it's disqualifying.

Erin Armknecht
Erin Armknecht

I'm team whoever makes these wretched ads go away.

Adam Vishy
Adam Vishy

I will vote for Dooley when he pays me....he does that, right?

Dave Brown
Dave Brown

If Stenger supports human trafficking, he's got my vote!

Jodi Fox
Jodi Fox

Stenger just looks untrustworthy. That's the face of a douche bag.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

who is the douche politician using the liberal myth that romney ( who as far as I know... isn't running for any office in st. Louis ) didn't pay his taxes to attack someone? if that's how low you have to go... that's says more about you than the guy you're attacking.

Daniel Benedict
Daniel Benedict

The only one that supports trafficing is Charlie "I pocket the money" Dooley. Why else would he have to try so hard to get your vote? He knows he's corrupt, but doesn't want YOU to notice.

David Biernbaum
David Biernbaum

What a desperate ad by Dooley. Really sickening that these are the "issues" being discussed. Very disrespectful to voters who want to know where the candidates stand on real issues.

Steve Dixon
Steve Dixon

And I'm already tired of the voting season...

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