Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Public safety

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

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.

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