SlaveSpace.com Owner Guilty of Sex Trafficking, Cleared on Obscenity

Michael Hayes
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A federal jury returned a mixed verdict for man known as the “S&M Svengali” who operated BDSM site SlaveSpace.com, finding him guilty of sex trafficking and forced labor but declining to side with prosecutors on the obscenity charge.

After seven days of deliberating, the jury returned a guilty verdict for Glenn Marcus in connection with the sex trafficking and forced labor charges, but the not-guilty verdict with respect to the obscenity charge represents a victory for the adult entertainment industry, attorney Lawrence Walters told XBIZ.

“The only element of this case that really matters to the adult industry is the obscenity charge,” Walters said. “It’s a positive result to see that the jurors, applying contemporary community standards, were able to separate an impermissible content restriction — obscenity — from regulation of conduct.”

In the case at bar, prosecutor Pam Chen argued that Marcus held his victims against their will.

One of Marcus’ victims told jurors about meeting him in 1998 on the Internet and agreeing to become one of his “slaves.” While Marcus argued that the arrangement was consensual, jurors heard testimony from a woman known only as Jodi describing how he degraded her by shaving her head, branding the letter “G” on her buttocks and carving the word “slave” on her stomach during meetings in Maryland, Washington D.C. and New York City.

“I felt like I was literally in hell,” Jodi said.

Another of Marcus’ “slaves,” Rona, told jurors that her relationship with him was purely consensual.

According to authorities, Marcus displayed many of the episodes described by his victims on SlaveSpace.com.

“Hopefully, the Bush administration will get the message that these obscenity cases are foolish,” Walters said. “With each obscenity acquittal, the obscenity laws may come one step closer to going down the tubes.”

Walters added that cases such as this one make a strong case for why adult films made with consenting adults should not be subject to obscenity prosecutions.

Under the Bush administration, federal prosecutors have brought more than 50 people and businesses up on obscenity charges, according to the Justice Department. By comparison, government prosecutors during the Clinton administration brought a total of four obscenity cases.

But Walters said there are two ways to view the increase in obscenity cases.

“When Bush first took office, there was this threat that it would be the end of adult entertainment,” he said. “That didn’t happen. The obscenity cases aren’t a good thing, but the more cases that we beat back, the more the conservatives will have to account for these failures and explain why they’re wasting money on obscenity. They certainly have brought a lot of cases, but probably not as many as they had planned to bring.”

According to prosecutors, Marcus faces between 30 years and life in prison.

No sentencing date was set.

Marcus, who declined to speak with reporters after the verdict was announced, remains free on $1 million bond.

His attorney, Maurice Sercarz, said Marcus would appeal the conviction.