Public court hearings halted for alleged clients of Mass. sex ring catering to prominent clientele

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Probable cause hearings initially scheduled for this week have been halted by the court for several people accused of paying for sex in a commercial sex ring that authorities said catered to “wealthy and well-connected clientele.”

Elected officials, doctors, lawyers, professors, accountants, and military officers were reportedly among a group of “high-end” clients who paid for the illegal sex services at various locations in Massachusetts and in Virginia.

Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Frank M. Gaziano issued an interim order to stay the hearings on Wednesday.

“This matter came before me on the petitioners’ emergency petition pursuant to G.L. c. 211, § 3, filed on January 12, 2024. Today, on January 17, 2024, the Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell filed a response to the petition on behalf of the respondent Clerk-Magistrate of the Cambridge District Court,” Gaziano wrote in his order. “Also today, the Association of Magistrates and Assistant Clerks of the Trial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (the “Association”) filed a motion for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae and to participate in any scheduled oral argument in this matter and individuals identifying themselves as John Doe #1-13 filed a joint motion to intervene in this matter, to stay the underlying Cambridge District Court proceedings, and to set a deadline for the proposed interveners to file their response to the petition.”

“Upon consideration thereof, it is ORDERED that: The Association’s motion for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae is ALLOWED; The motion to intervene filed by individuals identifying themselves as John Doe #1-13 is ALLOWED,” Gaziano wrote in his order. “These individuals shall have until 4 PM on Monday, January 22, 2024, to file their joint response to the petition; and The request to stay the underlying District Court proceedings is ALLOWED until further order of this Court.”

Twenty-eight probable cause hearings had initially been scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and on Monday in the Cambridge District Court.

It was unclear Wednesday when, or if, the public court hearings would be re-scheduled.

No names on the client list will be released until probable cause has been found, officials have said.

Attorney discusses why the Boston brothel client list remains a secret

Authorities in November arrested Han Lee, 41, of Cambridge; James Lee, 68, of California, and Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, who are all accused of running a “sophisticated” commercial sex network in Watertown, Cambridge, and in Virginia, where buyers paid up to $600 per hour for a wide array of advertised sex acts.

“This commercial sex ring was built on secrecy and exclusivity catering to a wealthy and well-connected clientele,” Acting U.S. Attorney Josh Levy said in November.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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