Whether he did it or not, he's serving a seven-year sentence because of the creative legal work of a Pima County prosecutor, Brad Roach
In the summer of 2000, Roach was assigned to prosecute Tyrone Henry after two teenage girls said he lured them to his home to try out a product called "White Dew" facial cream he was developing. Instead of exfoliation, they said they got ejaculation.
The girls, 15 and 16 years old at the time, said Henry showed them examples of women with "clumpy" white cream on their faces and then blindfolded them. The girls said they heard heavy breathing and Henry say, "It's coming," and then felt a thick, warm substance applied to their faces. They said he took photos, paid them $10 a piece and convinced them to make follow-up appointments. Thinking about it later, they realized they'd been hoodwinked and called the police.
Roach admits the hardest part of the case was figuring out what charge he could hang on Henry. It wasn't sexual assault because he didn't touch the girls sexually, and they didn't touch him. And it wasn't indecent exposure because the girls were blindfolded.
"It was fascinating," Roach said. "I don't want to say it was a once-in-a-lifetime case, but it's only once in awhile do you get something this bizarre."
In the end, the only charge Roach could get to stick was "fraudulent scheme and artifice." The Division II of the Arizona Court of Appeals concluded that Roach had made the right decision, knocking down Henry's appeal.
"It was a huge loophole," Roach said. "No one in the Legislature had ever thought of it. It's not the sort of crime that had come up before."
A 30-YEAR-OLD WITH A degree in political science and one of the first black columnists for the Arizona Daily Wildcat, Henry defended himself in court, arguing that it couldn't be fraud since he didn't cheat them out of money or property. The court disagreed, finding that he duped them in order to obtain "sexual gratification," which could be considered a fraudulent "benefit" under state law.
"I was incredulous, absolutely incredulous," Henry said recently in a phone interview from the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence. "We've all been in night clubs. You know how guys lay it on thick to lure girls back to their rooms. Under this ruling, that would be illegal because they achieve some sort of sexual gratification based on lies."
Henry said he will appeal next to the Arizona Supreme Court.
According to Roach, Henry will probably keep the state appeals attorneys' hands full. Henry and his mother, Raye Stiles, he said, are bulldog litigators.
"The thing to understand about Tyrone and his mother is that they're very active in weeding out people they perceive to be treating them unfairly," Roach said. "How that's played out is that they've filed complaints against nearly everyone in the Pima County Attorney's Office, the trial court, the appeals court, the clerk of the court and the court reporters. I didn't even know you could file a complaint against court reporters."
In person, Stiles doesn't have much hard edge. She's a lady in all senses of the word, and it makes discussing pornography with her difficult.
A year before, Tyrone was brought up on charges of child porn possession. Shortly after, Stiles, who didn't even know it was called "lobbying" at the time, successfully convinced the Arizona Legislature to loosen the state's illegal Internet porn statutes. At the time, she claimed Pima County was prosecuting innocent folk for possessing illegal material that had been sent to their e-mail accounts as spam. Although she was dismayed when she learned her son was running a porn site, she believes in his innocence.
Henry claims there was no scam. True, he was operating the "WhiteDewOriginalFacials.comWhiteDewOriginalFacials.com" Web site, but that was just his perfectly legal shot at the American Dream.
ADULT WEB SITES cater to a wide variety of specific fetishes. The culmination of oral sex--the cumshot--is where Henry said he found his niche.
He went online in January 2000. In the first month, he only took in $800, but by June, he was pulling in $1,200 a month. If he was still in operation, he believes he'd be making between $15,000 and $20,000 a month.
Henry advertised for models in the Wildcat and hung fliers in campus laundry rooms. When potential models called, he said he would explain what his Web site was about, show them examples, and they'd sign two contracts: one for terms of compensation and the other a photo release.
He had previously dealt with about 10 models, each of whom earned between $100 and $200 an hour. Henry says the two teenagers knew exactly what they were getting into and they wanted the money.
"Once they got to my home, I figured out in the course of speaking with them that they were not adults and seized everything," Henry said. "They created a ruse to get that money for very little work. I think they got mad at me because I busted them."
The girls also testified that while blindfolded, they saw a camera flash several times. Henry's side of the story is that the girls gave him a "sob story" about how they needed the money, so he snapped a headshot of one of the girls and paid them $20.
Henry's story is corroborated by the prosecution's evidence. When the police searched his home, they found between 300 and 500 photos of women in various stages of getting cum on their faces. However, the only photo of the girls upturned was a single, nonsexual frame on an undeveloped roll of film.
In order to compensate for this weakness in the state's argument, Roach supplied the jury other "facial" images from Henry's Web site gallery. Henry protested this in his appeal. (In a separate, unpublished ruling, the Appeals Court denied hearing the complaint on procedural grounds.)
In all, the sole material evidence in the case was a globule of his sperm found on one girl's sweater. Henry claims the girls were playing with everything in his apartment, including his laundry basket.
"I'm a red-blooded American man and I operate an adult site; if you look through my clothes, you're going to find semen," Henry says.
It's more or less a game of "he-said they-said"--except what "they said" fit with Henry's MO. The girls' testimony matched that of several UA students who told the police a year before they'd been conned by Henry.
Stiles points to foul play. She said it's no coincidence that police arrested her son in the White Dew case the day after she threatened to file a complaint against the prosecuting attorney in the child porn offense. Raye also says the prosecution may have had racist motives.
"Frankly, I didn't even know he was black until months into the case," Roach said.
Roach says there are people--in his own office--who find it hard to believe that these girls could possibly be so stupid.
"I've got to come out on (the girls') defense," he said. "We as a society don't teach girls to be as assertive as they should. Teenage girls especially are in a position of low self-esteem....
"Tyrone's a good con man. He's good at what he did, and he's very smart. It's easy for us not being in their place to say they're stupid. I don't really believe they deserve blame."