Pornography studio owner convicted of operating brothel

Posted at 4:04 PM, Apr 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-07 19:04:20-04

A man accused of operating a brothel out of his pornography production studio in Phoenix was convicted Friday of operating a house of prostitution, pandering and sexual assault.

William James Hartwell insisted he operated a legitimate studio where amateurs could rent cameras, lights and props to create their own sex scenes with the help of a model.

But authorities say it was a cleverly disguised brothel.

Police say female employees who took customers into rooms would insist on shooting a minutes-long video or taking 10 photos with sexual content before the cameras were discarded and they began to have sex.

Prosecutors say the images were taken to guard against future prostitution allegations.

Hartwell also was charged with sexually assaulting two women, but was acquitted of one of the two charges.