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2 arrested in sex ring investigation

Two more men were arrested Friday in the year-old investigation of an alleged sex-for-hire ring involving teenage girls advertised on the Internet.

Edward Neil Feldman, 62, a South Tampa doctor, and Herman Blumenthal III, 52, a St. Petersburg lawyer, are accused of performing lewd acts with a 13-year-old girl. Each was held without bail at the Orient Road Jail.

The arrests bring to at least eight the number of men, most of them working professionals, whom authorities have connected to the ring.

Investigators say Shawn Robert Martin, a former paralegal, kept the runaway teenage girl at his apartment in Town 'N Country. They say he took pornographic pictures of her and advertised her sexual services on a Web site.

Martin's former boss, 59-year-old lawyer David Russell Stahl, is accused of hiring three young girls for sex in his Tampa law office and at his Odessa home and arranging meetings between other professionals and young girls. Most of the girls are exotic dancers or runaways.

Martin, 25, pleaded guilty in February. He agreed to cooperate in the continuing investigation in exchange for prosecutors' asking a judge that he face no more than five years in prison. He had been facing up to 85 years.

The latest arrests were made thanks to his cooperation, said Michael Sinacore, chief of the sex offender division at the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office.

"He corroborated testimony that the victim had given," Sinacore said.

Feldman, of 2910 W Knights Ave. in Tampa, is accused of having sexual relations with the 13-year-old girl at his home three times between Dec. 29, 2000, and Jan. 23, 2001. He faces three counts of performing lewd and lascivious acts with a minor. He was arrested at his office at 1011 N MacDill Ave., where he practices orthopedic medicine.

Blumenthal, of 3472 Reserve Circle in St. Petersburg, faces six counts of the same charge. He is accused of meeting with the girl at Martin's apartment. He was arrested at his office at 9801 Seminole Blvd. in St. Petersburg.

Each man is accused of paying Martin between $200 and $300 to set up the meetings. It was not clear from information from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office whether the girl received any of the money.

Blumenthal is listed as a member in good standing with the Florida Bar Association. Michael Schwartzberg, who was listed as Blumenthal's attorney in an arrest report, said his client at one time represented Martin.

"I certainly hope that the reputation of my client over 25 years will entitle him to what the Constitution affords everybody _ that he is innocent until proven guilty," Schwartzberg said.

No attorney was listed for Feldman.

Neither man has a prior criminal history.

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