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Attorney's Link to Call Girls Probed : Alleged Ring Catered to 'Happily Married Career Men'

May 29, 1987|NANCY RAY | Times Staff Writer

Police vice squad officers are investigating an alleged high-class call-girl operation catering to successful San Diego professionals, according to a court affidavit unsealed this week.

The court document, which was the basis of search warrants for two suspects, gave detailed information about the sophisticated "escort service" catering to "middle-aged, happily married career men who don't want to jeopardize their families and want a little 'getaway time' with a young woman who would give them the attention they may lack from their wives."

Vice officers searched the Linda Vista condominium of Karen Wilkening, which allegedly was the office of the prostitution operation, and the law offices of Bonita attorney Brent O'Connell Barnes, 49, an associate of Wilkening who allegedly recruited some of his female clients for the prostitution ring.

Records Sought

Among the materials sought in the searches were financial records and lists of telephone numbers and addresses of both clients and prostitutes. Since the May 19 searches, other search warrants have been issued, but affidavits in support of the more recent warrants have been sealed by the court.

Police Lt. Dan Johnson, head of the vice section, said the intent of the searches is to obtain physical evidence of the alleged prostitution operation to supplement information obtained from an anonymous informant and from a female vice officer who posed as a potential client to Barnes and was hired as a call girl by Wilkening.

The vice officer, carrying concealed recording equipment, visited both Barnes and Wilkening, and was recruited and instructed in how to become a successful "high-class call girl," according to the search warrant affidavit.

According to the vice officer, who used the alias of Lisa Pope, Barnes glamorized the role of a prostitute as someone "found in elegant places, (who) dressed very nicely and could converse intelligently with any sort of businessman such as a lawyer, doctor or stockbroker."

Statement in Document

Barnes told Pope that "if he were an 18- or 19-year-old woman, he would go into prostitution, become a high-class 'call girl,' save a lot of money, go to another town. Later, he would go back to his real name and start all over, investing the money that he had saved," the court document stated.

After three meetings with Pope, Barnes agreed to introduce the undercover vice officer to Wilkening, the affidavit said. Wilkening explained to Pope that her "escort service" was a "very safe and discreet business" and that the "get-togethers" usually lasted an hour to an hour and a half and brought a fee of $150, $50 of which was to be paid to Wilkening, the affidavit stated.

According to the court document, Wilkening described the work as "easy" and told Pope that she would probably have to engage in intercourse with clients less than 50% of the time.

Most of her clients are in the Mission Valley area, Wilkening told Pope, but she added that sometimes she sends her girls on trips to such places as Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Hawaii or Los Angeles.

Johnson would not comment on what materials were seized in the searches of Barnes' office or Wilkening's condominium, nor on where the subsequent searches occurred.

He said that the investigative report on the call-girl operation will be forwarded to the district attorney's office for the possible filing of criminal charges in about four weeks. Neither Barnes nor Wilkening could be reached for comment.

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