URGE PRISON FOR LEVEE'S 'FARMERS'
Foes of Vice Prepare Measure to Reach Men Who Live Off Dissolute Women.
VAGRANCY LAWS USELESS
Police Say Judges Are Too Strict; Judges Say Police Are Too
The Illinois legislature will be asked next month to pass a bill making it a penitentiary offense to place women in disorderly houses or to live from the earnings of women already in these houses. The movement is backed by influential charity workers in Chicago. It is aimed at the hundreds of men who loaf in the city levee districts, existing solely on the money furnished them by the women they have "farmed out."
The vagrancy law passed last summer was framed partly with the idea of ridding the city of these "undesirables." Under its strict interpretation by the judges of the Municipal court, however, the police have been able to catch only a few and have given up the fight. Conferences have been held frequently of late between Judge Mack, framer of the new bill; Judge Stein, Chief Shippy, Dean W. T. Sumner of the Cathedral SS Peter and Paul, Hull house residents, and other charity workers interested.
Leading Jews Are Interested.
The men engaged in this business are chiefly young Jews, and it is with the idea of stamping out the evil growing in their own race that led Judge Mack, Judge Stein and other leading Jews to interest themselves.
The character of the west side levee, particularly, has undergone a great change during the last two years because of the existence of this evil. Rabbis and editors of Jewish papers have drawn attention to the extent to which the Ghetto has been invaded by these men.
"The only way we can reach them," said Judge Mack, "is to make their business a crime. The vagrancy law will not touch them. It is an evil that must be stamped out at once."
"Seventy per cent of the women in my district are Jewesses who are supporting men," said Dean Sumner."The men exact a weekly tribute from the women and live at their ease. I have one case in mind now. A young man who runs a poolroom near my church has a wife in Seattle. In Chicago he 'owns' four women, whom he farmed out. He beats them and ill treats them. He keeps them in insanitary houses. But they come back to him after all. I have got to sent one of these women to a hospital.
Vagrancy Law Easily Evaded
Chief Shippy said he was in favor of the proposed law.
"These men are among the worst class the police have to deal with," he said. "If they have no visible means of support they easily manufacture such evidence. Some one comes in who swears that the defendant works for him. I have found this one of the big loopholes of this law, which we thought would prove so helpful to us. The judges interpret it too strictly."
"The vagrancy law is all right," said Chief Olson of the Municipal court. "The trouble is that the police bring in men as vagrants without proof."
Girl Rescued, Man Sentenced.
Detectives Reed and O'Neil of the Desplaines street station rescued Theresa Benetti, 17 years old, from a disorderly resort at 208 West Randolph street. The police arrested Frank Cavello, 20 years old, charged with placing the girl in the resort. Municipal Judge Beitler in the morning sentenced Cavello to six months in the house of correction.