Tills' Sentencing Rescheduled in Jester Prostitution Case
Mon Jan 12, 2009
Former New York state Supreme Court Judge Ronald Tills was scheduled to be sentenced today, January 12 at 0900 for pleading guilty to one felony count of "transporting an individual in interstate commerce with intent that the individual engage in prostitution," for which the maximum possible sentence is a term of imprisonment of 10 years, a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release (probation) of at least 5 years and up to life.
Due to his continuing cooperation with the ongoing FBI investigation into the Royal Order of Jesters for prostitution, Tills' sentencing has been rescheduled to May 7, 2009.
Tills, his law clerk and former Erie County prosecutor, Michael Stebick and retired police captain John Trowbridge were caught in a FBI human trafficking sting aimed at four massage parlors that kept as many as 11 illegal alien Asian women as sex slaves. All three men pleaded guilty to taking prostitutes to Jester functions, including one national meeting held in Ontario, Canada.
As a point of clarification, memberships go like this. A man joins a local Masonic lodge and works through three degrees to become a Master Mason. As such, he is eligible to join other groups like the Scottish Rite, the Knights Templar and the Shriners. One must be invited to become a member of the Shriners’ secret sub-group, the Royal Order of Jesters. So, a man who is a member of the Royal Order of Jesters was first an invited Shriner who was first a Master Mason.
Stebick was sentenced on December 9 to four months of home confinement for conspiring to violate the Mann Act.
He was also put on probation for two years, ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and provide 250 hours of community service. He also forfeited the 2000 Challenger 335 MHA motor home he used to drive Tills, Trowbridge and the prostitute to Kentucky.
Trowbridge's sentencing has been rescheduled twice and is now set for May 6, 2009.
The owner of the "massage parlors," Len Wah Chong, was sentenced on November 19 to six years in federal prison after pleading guilty to last April to "Sex Trafficking of Persons by Force, Fraud and Coercion."
Tills' plea agreement spells out the 2001 – 2007 Jester events for which he admitted recruiting and/or transporting prostitutes, including:
In September, 2001, he and Michael Stebick recruited prostitutes for a Jester meeting in Dunkirk, New York after the 9/11 terrorist attack adversely impacted air travel.
In late October, 2005, he, Trowbridge and Stebick drove a prostitute from Buffalo, New York to work a Jester meeting in Ashland, Kentucky.
In spring, 2006, he coordinated with Jester officers to transport prostitutes from the Buffalo airport to a hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada to work a Royal Order of Jesters national meeting.
In fall, 2006, he flew with a prostitute to work a Jester meeting in Florida.
In fall, 2006, he and Trowbridge took a prostitute to work a Jester meeting in Pennsylvania, the same woman that both Tills and Trowbridge paid to have sex with at a Buffalo massage parlor.
In October, 2007, he recruited prostitutes from New York, Ohio and Texas to work a Jester meeting in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
"Cooperation" is spelled out in Tills' plea agreements as:
* Providing complete and truthful information regarding his knowledge of any and all criminal activity, whether undertaken by the defendant or others, in any way involving or related to the unlawful transportation of individuals for prostitution or other sexual activity which is prohibited by law.
* Submitting to interviews by government attorneys and agents.
* Testifying truthfully and completely before grand juries and at such pre-trial and trial proceedings.
* Testifying truthfully and completely in local, state, and federal courts in jurisdictions which have agreed to abide by the plea agreement.
* Providing proactive cooperation to the government regarding individuals involved in criminal activity involving unlawful transportation of individuals for prostitution or other sexual activity which is prohibited by law.
* Providing cooperation to any local, state, or federal authorities designated by the government.
The U.S. Attorney has described the Jesters as an organization with chapters throughout the United States and that it was customary for most of these chapters to use members to get prostitutes for their weekend meetings.
Questions about these matters repeatedly phoned and emailed to the Masonic Grand Lodge of New York remain unanswered.
On Wednesday, December 3, 2008, Imperial Potentate Douglas Maxwell, Chairman of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Board of Trustees and member of the Royal Order of Jesters, Ralph Semb and Corporate Director of Public Relations Alicia Aargiz-Lyons were asked:
"What is your reaction to the latest news articles about those members of the Royal Order of Jesters pleading guilty in Buffalo to violating the Mann Act?”
To date, all three have failed to respond.
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