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AdultFYI Salutes: A Pimp of 40 Years

from – By the age of 60, most folks are contemplating retirement or perhaps scrambling to readjust those plans in light of the tight economic times. But it appears that 66-year-old Ernest Serio wasn’t quite ready to leave his recession-proof position as a manager in the world’s oldest profession.

Serio was arrested last week and booked with promoting prostitution at a Metairie motel, according to a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office arrest report. He is accused of setting up prostitution dates through two locally based escort agencies, Aabby’s Executive Escorts and Adorable Escorts. In statements to detectives, Serio admitted he is no newcomer to the profession, with about 40 years in the illicit escort business, the report said.

“I need to do something. I need clothes on my back, I need to be able to have a roof over my head. And uh, I’ve got a crack addition. That’s a monster, ” Serio told Detective Michael Tucker in a taped interview.

Serio’s criminal record includes a 1993 stint in prison for running an escort service out of his Houma Boulevard home in Metairie. Neighbors were enraged by the regular parade of prostitutes who turned tricks there, and occasionally, in the backyard, according to court records.

Serio’s record is a lengthy one with more than 40 arrests dating to 1960 and at least 12 felony convictions. David Lindsey, director of the New Orleans office of probation and parole described Serio’s record as unusual, even for a career criminal.

“By the time they get into their 30s, they’re burned out, ” Lindsey said. “To see someone at this age continue to be active is pretty unusual. It goes against the statistical grain.”

But for Serio, there may be no other career option, according Capt. Tom Angelica, commander of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office vice division.

“Serio doesn’t know anything else. He’s been in and out of jail most of his adult life. This is what he does. This is what he knows, ” Angelica said.

Serio could not be reached for comment. He was still being held Friday at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna on a $10,000 bond. No relatives or friends could be located. Authorities had a difficult time finding him to serve the most recent arrest warrant, according to Angelica.

The promoting prostitution charge stems from a June 26 encounter at a motel in the 4400 block of Hearst Avenue. A suspect arrested on suspicion of selling drugs said Serio had arranged a rendezvous with a prostitute in exchange for the anti-anxiety drug Valium, the arrest report said. Serio was taken into custody on an outstanding attachment, but disappeared as detectives pieced together enough information for the prostitution warrant. They didn’t find him again until Oct. 6 at an apartment complex in the 3700 block of Simone Garden Place in Metairie.

When he was arrested on similar charges back in 1992, Serio was running American Dream Girl escorts out of his 518 Houma Blvd. residence. Neighbor Tom Wells, 79, said he doesn’t know Serio personally, but definitely remembers the ruckus surrounding the tiny, single shotgun.

“He would have these call girls, these ladies of the night, walk past us to do their thing within 518, ” Wells said. “We found out when they were leaving on their way back to Airline (Drive), these quote-unquote ladies were propositioning the teenage boys.”

The residents of Houma Boulevard weren’t going to stand for that kind of foolishness, said Wells, who testified at the trial. After Serio was convicted, neighbors banded together to have the house demolished by the parish. The sordid story of the empty lot is often shared with new neighbors, as it was to Jon Hyers, 41, who said he heard about the house of hookers when he moved in across the street in 1997.

Serio’s rap sheet is difficult to piece together. Parts of his file with the Department of Corrections were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, according to Lindsey. Out of the 12 felony convictions that could be confirmed through court and police records, the most serious was a 1976 charge of manslaughter. Serio pleaded guilty to shooting Michael Scarmado, 23, of New Orleans at the Houma Boulevard residence. He claimed he was defending himself against an intruder, but authorities said he shot the man after argument. Serio was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

The most recent conviction was in 2007, a guilty plea to multiple offender theft after he was caught shoplifting at a Metairie store. For that, Serio served one year behind bars, according to records.

While Serio’s age and self-proclaimed dedication to the escort business make him unusual, he is not unique, according to Ronald Weitzer, a sociology professor at George Washington University in Washington D.C., who specializes in criminology and the sex trade.

“There is this gamut of promoters, brokers, madams, pimps — whatever you want to call them. They run elite, upscale operations to those kinds of mom and pop cottage industry operations. Sounds like (Serio) is in the latter category, ” he said.

Escort managers and pimps are rarely arrested. But when they are, Angelica said they have ranged from businessmen and women with no criminal record to repeat offenders like Serio. Authorities find it difficult to make cases against pimps and managers without prostitutes willing to testify, But it can be done, said Angelica, who added that the Sheriff’s Office always investigates such complaints.

Escort services first popped in up in the 1970s with advertisements in the yellow pages. But they began to mushroom in the past two decades with the advent of the of the Internet, Weitzer said. Serio’s services were listed on

“Even though he’s been doing this for 40 years, sounds like he’s changed his business model over the time, ” Weitzer said.

Sheriff’s Office detectives are still investigating the case against Serio. If convicted, he could face a lengthy jail sentence as a Code 6 repeat offender, according to the district attorney’s office. Serio’s escort service career looks to be on hold, at least for now.

But Angelica said there will always be people like Serio as long as there are girls willing to provide a bit of illicit pleasure under the supervision of a handler.

“This is what he does. He’s going to do it until the day he dies, ” Angelica said.


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