HACKENSACK, N.J. -- A New Jersey physics professor is in police custody for allegedly running a prostitution website involving about 200 women and more than 1,200 johns, authorities said Monday.
David Flory of New York City, a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, was arrested Sunday while sitting in a Starbucks in Albuquerque, N.M., said Lt. William Roseman of the Albuquerque police. Flory, who ran the site mostly from New York, had long owned a vacation home in Santa Fe, N.M., Roseman said.
Flory was charged with 40 counts of promoting prostitution and other charges. He was being held in Albuquerque on $100,000 bail late Monday.
Flory, a professor at the Madison campus of FDU, holds a master's degree from Columbia University and a doctorate from Yeshiva University, according to FDU's website. In a statement, FDU spokeswoman Dina Schipper said that the university was "saddened" by the news.
"Our hearts go out to all of those impacted by the situation," Schipper said. "Since becoming aware of the arrest, the university has cooperated with law enforcement authorities as they seek to gain the most accurate information as part of their ongoing investigation in New Mexico."
Asked whether Flory had been suspended or terminated by the university since his arrest, Schipper declined to comment beyond the prepared statement.
Flory's website, Southwest Companions, had operated for months before several prostitutes in Albuquerque mentioned the site to police and they began investigating late last year, Roseman said.
Users were split into three categories, and first-time visitors had to first gain the trust of Flory before gaining any access. Ordinarily this was done, Roseman said, by "sleeping with a prostitute." The prostitute would then report to Flory what sexual acts the two had engaged in, as well as how much money was exchanged.
After that process, users were designated as "Verified," gaining access to a wider circle of women to choose from, Roseman said. If users became more frequent customers, their status was increased to "Trusted," which gave them access to more women and more portions of the website, including message boards explaining how to avoid the police, Roseman said.
"They had descriptions of my officers, phone numbers they used, videos of an attorney telling them that if you get busted by the police, here's what you should do," Roseman said. "This was a website designed, managed and run fully for prostitution."
The site also included message boards where users could rate the prostitutes with stars, including the rating of specific sexual acts, Roseman said.
Roseman said Flory told police he did not make money off of the website and instead saw it as a hobby, "a safe place for guys to find female prostitutes," Roseman said.
(c) 2011, North Jersey Media Group Inc.
Visit The Record, www.northjersey.com/.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.