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Prosecutor Says Union-Leader Sports Writer Ran Prostitution Ring

LAWRENCE, Mass. — from www.wmur.com – A Manchester newspaper reporter is facing charges that he ran a prostitution ring out of a Massachusetts hotel.

Prosecutors said Kevin Provencher used the Internet to solicit clients and prostitutes and got money working as the middle man. He was charged with two counts of deriving support from prostitution.

In a Massachusetts court Wednesday, prosecutors said Provencher took a cut of the proceeds from a prostitution operation that he set up and ran for about six months at an Andover, Mass., hotel.

“This defendant was the ring leader of this operation,” said Assistant Essex County Attorney Michelle Defeo. “He has approximately three to four women working under his control. He scheduled the places, he set the amounts, and he also scheduled the meetings.”

Provencher has worked as a sports writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper in Manchester for more than 22 years. He was arrested Wednesday in Manchester and charged as a fugitive from justice before his arraignment in Lawrence District Court.

Authorities said they started getting complaints from hotel staff in February that Provencher was renting a room two days a week, claiming that his wife was going to use it while he was at work. But investigators said that one or two women would occupy that room, and a steady stream of men would follow.

“She would have to pay him approximately $100 for the room,” Defeo said. “He would then provide her with the names and phone numbers of the clients for the day. She would call those males, telling them which room she was in. He told her he would advertise her rates, which were approximately $240 for an hour, and he told her he would take half of her proceeds.”

Court documents said that investigators believe Provencher was making an average about $400 a day, and that money was given directly to Provencher or deposited in a bank account.

Prosecutors also said Provencher solicited the women online through Web sites and e-mails and that he had a list of steady clients.

Investigators said there were also similar meetings arranged in Manchester hotels, and the operation may have spread to Canada.

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