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Client List Remains Her Secret : 'Mayflower Madam' Fined, Keeps Profit

July 19, 1985|Associated Press

NEW YORK — "Mayflower madam" Sydney Biddle Barrows pleaded guilty today to promoting prostitution in return for a $5,000 fine, no prison sentence and the right to keep her profits and to keep her client list secret.

At a 10-minute hearing that followed more than a week of negotiations between prosecutors and Barrows' lawyers, the 32-year-old socialite pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison.

Justice Brenda Soloff of state Supreme Court, New York's trial-level court, said Barrows will receive a "certificate of relief from civil disabilities"--a guarantee that the district attorney will not sue to attach the assets earned from any illegal activities.

In a statement released to reporters, Barrows, who can trace her ancestry to the Pilgrims, said she was "personally delighted" by the outcome. The plea, she said, was "ultimately simpler and finally, it's over."

Later, at a restaurant news conference where she sipped a glass of champagne, she denied she had fostered prostitution. She said the plea was the only way to avoid trial and the subsequent embarrassment.

Mary de Bourbon, spokeswoman for Dist. Atty. Robert M. Morgenthau, said all records of Barrows' escort services, including the names of clients--among them business VIPs and Arab sheiks--had been returned to Barrows.

Barrows was arrested last October after a raid on the West 74th Street headquarters of her three businesses--Elan, Cachet and Finesse. The indictment charged that the three were really prostitution businesses.

Police said Barrows ran her business like a corporation, sending women out with credit-card machines and keeping books which listed high-powered clients and their sexual preferences.

The women who were charged with working for Barrows' service have long since been released. The case against Barrows' co-defendant, Lawrin Goulston, 26, was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal today, and she was released without any penalty.

Both women had been charged with promoting prostitution in the second degree, a felony that carries with it a maximum seven-year term.

Barrows is now working on a book and television movie on her exploits, she said.

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