BANGOR, Maine — The owner and operator of Cinnamon’s Sweets, an escort service that advertised online, pleaded guilty Tuesday in 3rd District Court to four counts of promoting prostitution.
Judge Jessie Gunther ordered Michelle Powers-Jenkins, 42, of Orland to pay fines of $500 per count for a total of $2,000.
Powers-Jenkins was one of seven women charged in April with promotion of prostitution, a Class D misdemeanor.
The others were: Aimee Bernard, 19, Amanda Shaw, 29, Jolena Glidden, 25, Coleen Singer, 26, all of Bangor; Kimberly Oakley, 28, of Brewer; and Alicia Gray, 23, of Kenduskeag.
The women were released on bail shortly after their arrests.
Each faced up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
No other escorts or their clients have been charged, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office.
The women were arrested as the result of a sting operation conducted on April 2 and 3 by the Brewer police. Detective Sgt. Jay Munson said at the time of the arrests that he and other officers had visited Craigslist and similar sites a few days earlier.
“We started making phone calls and making appointments,” Munson said. “We ordered up five girls,” but during the process “we were able to order a sixth girl. Three of them came from Cinnamon’s Sweets.”
The women showed up at a Brewer motel one or two at a time to meet with an undercover officer who purportedly had hired them as escorts or to perform exotic dances.
“Through our investigation, we were quoted prices anywhere between $200 and $1,000,” Munson said in April.
Craigslist is a free online classified ad site set up for people to sell items and to network. The site includes a warning and disclaimer, advising users to bring to the company’s attention prohibited entries such as solicitation for prostitution.
In May, Craigslist announced that it would drop its “erotic services” category in response to complaints from law enforcement officials that it was being used as a front for prostitution. The category has been replaced with one listing “adult services.”
The firm also has announced that a fee now will be charged for advertisements for “adult services,” and employees will monitor every posting before it appears online. In the past, the site has been criticized for not implementing that precaution, The Associated Press reported.
In May, Bernard pleaded guilty and Glidden and Oakley pleaded no contest to promotion of prostitution in 3rd District Court in Bangor. Each woman was ordered to pay a $500 fine.
Bernard also pleaded guilty to the civil violation of possession of drug paraphernalia and was ordered to pay a $300 fine, the mandatory minimum.
Gray, who was convicted last year of promotion of prostitution and ordered to pay a $500 fine, pleaded guilty to the same offense in June, according to James Diehl, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County. She was ordered to serve 48 hours in jail.
Charges are still pending against Shaw and Singer, Diehl said Tuesday.