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Monday, December 12, 2011

Reports of Prostitution Referrals from Berkeley High School Hyped - But By Whom?

Posted By on Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Who's to blame - the source or the messenger?
  • Who's to blame - the source or the messenger?

​The Berkeley police are disputing a KTVU report last week -- that SF Weekly then blogged -- about the number of possible cases of student prostitutes that Berkeley High School refers to the Berkeley Police Department.

Last week, KTVU reported that the Berkeley police said they receive one to two referrals a month from the high school. But Berkeley police issued a press release Thursday disputing that claim, saying the department has investigated just three cases involving students from the high school in 2010, and two cases so far this year. Meanwhile, Berkeley school district officials told the Berkeleyside blog that Berkeley High School hasn't referred any students to cops who are suspected of prostitution.

So who's to blame for the one to two referrals a month statistic that alarmed the Berkeley Commission on the Status of Women? It's still not clear.

Our message to the Berkeley police department's spokeswoman have yet to be returned, and we were told that the KTVU editor in charge of the story won't be in until this afternoon. A person who refused to give their name at KTVU said, "We're not correcting anything at this point...the Berkeley Police Department is not agreeing with what we reported and the school is not agreeing with what we reported."

Indeed, Berkeley High School principal Pasquale Scuderi blamed KTVU in an email to the school community for its "salacious, tabloid style headline," according to the Berkeleyside blog. The KTVU report was called "Reports of teenage hookers rocks Berkeley high School." As of this morning, the print story appears to no longer be on KTVU's website - though it's still archived on search engines. The video report remains on KTVU's website.

We'll update when we get more answers.

@SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF

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Lauren Smiley


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