From today's Niagara Gazette:
Ronald H. Tills, 74, of Hamburg, was sentenced Friday in federal court to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty last year to transporting prostitutes across state lines.
Tills is the third man to be sentenced in connection with a federal prostitution sting involving local massage parlors.
Two other defendants — retired Lockport Police Captain John Trowbridge, 62, and Tills' former law clerk, Michael Stebick, 61 — had previously been sentenced.
Trowbridge received two years’ probation, and Stebick was given four months home confinement.
The men were all members of the Royal Order of Jesters, an international fraternal society.
Tills admitted last September to violating the Mann Act by transporting prostitutes across state lines. Trowbridge pleaded guilty to transporting the woman, an illegal alien identified in court papers as “Jane Doe No. 1,” to Kentucky, to engage in prostitution with members of the Royal Order of Jesters.
As part of his plea, Tills admitted to five additional occasions of transporting a woman across state lines for prostitution.
Allegations of prostitution led the Western District’s Human Trafficking Task Force and Alliance to conduct raids on four massage parlors in Lockport, Niagara Falls, Wheatfield and Tonawanda in December 2007.
The women working at the massage parlors were illegal aliens from Asia. Nine women were rescued from the parlors, where investigators said they were being held as virtual captives.
The Buffalo News goes on to report:
So far, no charges have been filed against anyone outside the Buffalo chapter.
In May, a national spokesman for the Jesters told The Buffalo News that the presence of prostitutes at Jesters gatherings is something that only the Buffalo chapter engaged in, adding that such conduct is never condoned by the national leadership.
The all-male organization — which is a division of the Freemasons — has 191 chapters with 22,000 members, mostly in the United States. The fraternal group's members have included two U.S. presidents, politicians, entertainment figures and prominent businessmen.
Some former Jesters told The News that many Jesters chapters have engaged in wild parties with prostitutes for decades.
Tills, who previously served as a member of the State Assembly, was known by colleagues and defense attorneys as one of the region's toughest sentencing judges before he retired from his job as a state judge in 2005.