Monday, November 20, 2017
Public safety

St. Petersburg police arrest two in connection with website where women beat homeless men

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — The home page of Shefights.net — which sells Web videos of scantily clad women beating up, dominating and punishing homeless men — bills itself as the place where "fantasy meets reality."

But a different reality caught up with Shefights.net on Friday: police arrested owner Jeffrey Williams and one of the fetish website's performers after a yearlong investigation determined they had abused disabled adults.

Williams, 59, of St. Petersburg was arrested at his attorney's office on two counts of aggravated abuse of a disabled adult. Zuzu Irvina Vargo, 25, one of Shefights.net's fighters, was arrested at her St. Petersburg home on the same two counts.

Last year an advocate for the homeless interviewed homeless men who said they were offered $25 to $50 to be whipped, beaten and dominated by women in a garage or a back yard as an audience watched. The men said they were not allowed to fight back and had to endure the violence for 12 minutes to get paid.

"It's about time," said the advocate, G.W. Rolle. "I tried all sorts of things (to stop it.) I've gone to court. I'm really excited to hear about this.

"It's just the exploitation of vulnerable people."

The website offers more than 200 videos of women — sometimes topless — assaulting men ranging in price from $5.99 to $24.99. The site also offers custom videos, based on scenarios envisioned by the customer, starting at $600.

The St. Petersburg Police Department's intelligence unit launched an investigation last year. St. Petersburg spokesman Mike Puetz said the investigation took so long because of the time it took to determine which of the many homeless men in the videos was endangered.

"Identifying the participants in this was totally difficult," he said. "But establishing to the satisfaction of the statute that these folks were suffering from a mental disability was the issue that had to be dealt with. During the course of the investigation we did identify at least two men that fit that criteria."

Police did not identify those two men. Investigators believe that Williams recruited the two men, recorded Vargo beating them and did so at his own home.

Both Williams and Vargo were booked into the Pinellas County jail on Friday, where they were being held in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Comments

St. Petersburg pedestrian fatally struck in Osceola County

A pedestrian from St. Petersburg was killed Sunday night when he was struck by an SUV in Osceola County.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the unidentified 24-year-old man was struck along on U.S. 192 at Pine Grove Road in St. Cloud around 7 p....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Park, Walk and Talk is St. Petersburg police chief’s signature program. Is it working?

Park, Walk and Talk is St. Petersburg police chief’s signature program. Is it working?

ST. PETERSBURG — Police Chief Tony Holloway has made getting officers out of their cars, walking streets and talking to residents a key plank in his effort to improve relations between his department and the community.But three years into his adminis...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Search suspended for missing Cortez boater who left from Egmont Key

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing 63-year-old boater on Sunday evening, two days after he and his dog were reported missing 5 miles northwest of Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island.On Friday, Fraser Horne of Cortez le...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Two unhurt after small plane clips tree during emergency landing in Clearwater (w/ video)

Two unhurt after small plane clips tree during emergency landing in Clearwater (w/ video)

CLEARWATER — Two men walked away unhurt from a small airplane after it clipped a tree and spun around as the pilot tried to make an emergency landing on Keene Road, deputies said.Pilot Marc Benedict, 61, and passenger Gregory Guinee, 55, of Clearwate...
Updated: 11 hours ago
On the night shift in Seminole Heights, Tampa police keep watch for a killer

On the night shift in Seminole Heights, Tampa police keep watch for a killer

TAMPATampa Police Lt. Gary Neal is almost halfway into his shift when the shots ring out.He jumps into his white 2016 Dodge Charger and races the few blocks from District 3 headquarters to the scene of a drive-by shooting in a city rattled by a strin...
Published: 11/18/17
Tampa couple recounts wrong-way DUI crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway

Tampa couple recounts wrong-way DUI crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway

TAMPA — Police arrested a 26-year-old man they say drove the wrong way while drunk and caused a multi-vehicle crash that injured several people late Friday on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.Collin John Cole faces two counts of driving under the influ...
Published: 11/18/17
Boater missing in waters north of Bradenton, dog found alive

Boater missing in waters north of Bradenton, dog found alive

CORTEZ — The Coast Guard and others are scouring the waters near Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island, for a 63-year-old boater who has been missing since Friday evening. Fraser Horne of Cortez left Egmont Key on his 30-foot boat, Golden Ru...
Published: 11/18/17
Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

During the day, you hear from the psychics and the kooks. The well-intentioned tipsters, and the unsolicited profilers. This is all part of serial killer spillover, a sort of cottage industry of macabre.It gets tougher at night when you’re hounded by...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17

Possible wrong-way crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday

TAMPA — A multi-vehicle crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday may have been caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction, Tampa police said.The crash occurred in the eastbound lanes closer to the Tampa side of the causeway, near ...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17