Pa. court tosses sex-for-tickets conviction

PHILADELPHIA - December 20, 2011

Authorities had alleged that Susan Finkelstein posted a racy online ad, then met with an undercover Bensalem police officer in October 2009 and offered to perform sexual acts in exchange for tickets to see the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.

Finkelstein acknowledged placing a "goofy" ad on Craigslist and hoping to use her "feminine wiles" to get tickets, but denied offering favors and said she wasn't a prostitute.

At trial last year, Finkelstein was acquitted of prostitution but convicted of attempted prostitution.

The state Superior Court ruled Tuesday that since Finkelstein was cleared of the more serious prostitution count, she could not be convicted of attempt because the proof required to sustain both charges was the same. Also, the court noted, Finkelstein was not engaged in "sexual activity as a business" and said the crime of prostitution was not intended to "criminalize private illicit sexual relations."

Finkelstein's attorney, William Brennan, said his client was elated by the decision.

"This woman should never have been charged in the first place," he said.

Stephen Harris, chief of appeals for the Bucks County district attorney, said prosecutors disagree with the court's reasoning but that no decision has been made on whether to appeal.

"Our view is that if you're selling sex for something of value, and certainly a World Series ticket is something of value, that is a business transaction," he said.

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