Cop records himself in acts of solicitation
An Aurora code enforcement officer has resigned after he recorded himself soliciting two prostitutes late last year while his body camera was rolling, according to court documents and investigators.
Paul Thorne, 54, pleaded guilty on March 6 to one count of soliciting prostitution, a Class 3 misdemeanor, Arapahoe County prosecutors say. He was sentenced to six months probation and 60 hours of community service in the case, which was first reported by KCNC-4.
Thorne’s case is apparently the second in Colorado in which a public employee recording himself with a body camera breaking the law led to charges. Denver police Officer Julian Archuleta pleaded guilty in February to taping himself stealing more than $1,000 from a suspect’s vehicle. He has resigned.
In Thorne’s case, he was wearing a body camera as part of a testing phase for Aurora code enforcement officers when a supervisor, watching Thorne’s footage, spotted the solicitations.
According to Aurora police records, the recordings, from Dec. 28, 2016, captured Thorne calling a woman named Tracy whose number he had gotten online and asking her the “donation price” for sex. Investigators say he then called another woman and asked what her donation price was.
“Due to my training and experience, I am familiar with the term ‘donation,’ ” an Aurora police officer wrote in a report. “This is common terminology that escorts/prostitutes use in an effort to avoid prosecution but refers to money in exchange for sex.”
Thorne, when told he was going to be charged on Jan. 18, told authorities he “wished to take full responsibility for his actions” and that he had resigned from his code enforcement job, the police report shows.
Aurora announced in November it was testing body cameras for its code enforcement and animal control officers after seeing a rise in encounters with angry residents.
“In code enforcement, there’s a national trend of the job becoming more and more difficult with some volatile interactions with folks,” Malcolm Hankins, the city’s director of neighborhood services, said at the time. “It’s not always the most positive environment, if you will, because it’s something that will cost people time and money.”
Aurora has allocated money in its 2017 budget to equip 24 code enforcement officers and 14 animal protection officers.