OKLAHOMA CITY Aug 16, 2006 (AP)— Brian Bates says he was so fed up with prostitutes and their customers cruising his working-class neighborhood in the mid-1990s that he picked up a video camera and started documenting their sex acts on tape. Dubbed the "video vigilante," Bates soon made a splash on local TV and drew praise from police and prosecutors with his lurid, caught-in-the-act footage, which he posted on his Web site to embarrass the johns. The national media eventually took notice, and Bates was appearing regularly on programs such as "The Maury Povich Show."
But now Bates could be looking at prison himself.
Prosecutors say some of his footage was not a result of intrepid camera work. Instead, they say, he paid prostitutes to take their customers to locations where he could easily tape them. He has been charged with pandering and aiding and abetting prostitution.
Bates and his attorney have denied the allegation and claim Bates ran afoul of the police and district attorney's office when he videotaped two white Oklahoma City police officers beating an unarmed black man with their batons during an arrest in 2002. At the time, District Attorney Wes Lane defended the officers and decided not to prosecute them, and Bates bitterly criticized him for that.