Susan Mangan – arrested just last month after skipping town and for a decade escaping charges that she ran a prostitution house in Santa Barbara – decided against going to trial and pled guilty Wednesday to charges related this activity.
Mangan, in court to set a date for her preliminary hearing, instead took Senior Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley’s offer for the same time behind bars her husband Brian Mangan received after being found guilty by a Santa Barbara jury of the same charges years ago. Dudley filed nine counts against Susan Mangan in Superior Court November 13, but Mangan ended up pleading guilty to only five: two counts of pandering by procuring two women to be prostitutes, two felony counts of pimping the two women, and a misdemeanor count of “keeping a house of ill-fame.”
Mangan will be on the next bus out of town to the Valley State Prison for Women, where she will stay until authorities evaluate her and decide where she will spend her three years in prison.
The Mangans’ brothel, Anna’s Touch on Canon Perdido Street, was uncovered in 1998 when police responded to a robbery at the address. As the robbery investigation continued, officers determined the home was a house of prostitution. An arrest warrant was issued for Susan Mangan, but she fled the city.
Mangan had been teaching at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, and living with Brian Mangan-who had served three years in prison and was released-in Oakland, where she was eventually tracked down by authorities.
Mangan’s attorney, Robert Landheer, said that more than likely, given the evidence, a jury would have found her guilty. “Sometimes the battle is not worth the scortched earth that follows,” he said. He also alleged that the charges she was facing were designed to punish those who enslaved people to work in the sex industry and, conversely, the prostitutes who worked with Mangan were women who “wanted work, needed work, and took work.” Finally, Landheer noted that prostitution was legal in other countries. Mangan also described her activities more innocently than the charges against her do. She told Judge Eskin on Wednesday morning that she was “basically matchmaking between two consenting adults where sexual activity occurred and money was exchanged.”
Offering a different point of view, Dudley said that through her prosecution of this case, she’s learned “pimping and pandering : are not victimless crimes.” According to Dudley, the two women, who were still in their teens at the time, now each hold respectable jobs and are mothers. But their involvement with Mangan “caused a lot of chaos in their lives,” Dudley said.
In addressing Eskin, Mangan said she’s had a lot of time to think about her situation. “And I really believe that future generations are going to put my crimes up on the shelf with a lot of other women’s crimes from history,” she said. “Crimes of the Salem witches, inquisitions in Europe, crimes of gentile women having sex with Jewish men in Nazi Germany, the crime of a woman marrying a Chinese man here in California in the early 20th century, and the crime of black-white sex, the crimes of fornication, premarital sex : And, I take full responsibility and pride in being in the same league as all of the women that have suffered for sexual crimes throughout history.”
CORRECTION: This story has been corrected so that an opinion about the two former prostitutes is attributed to Joyce Dudley.