Melissa Petro: Former Teacher Was Craigslist Prostitute: Photo
Melissa Petro, a Bronx Teacher, Has Been 'Reassigned' After Publishing Online That She Worked as a Prostitute Using Craigslist's Erotic Services Section
This was before she started work as an art teacher at a Bronx elementary school, PS 70, but as the New York Post reports, Melissa Petro has been upfront about posting accounts of her work as a prostitute and stripper online on sites such as the Huffington Post. The NY Post has a photo of Melissa Petro.
This is not a new story necessarily, because Melissa Petro wrote an online piece on The Rumpus.net on June 21 2010, discussing how some of her co-workers were Googling her as they thought she may have been a sex worker.
Well she was, and although she has never been shy about it, she has now been reassigned from her teaching job.
She wrote a few weeks ago that the reason she was prostituted herself was for the money and not because she had to.
From October 2006 to January 2007 I accepted money in exchange for sexual services I provided to men I met online in what was then called the "erotic services" section of Craigslist.org.
She shed light on how easy it was to post these kinds of services on Craigslist, writing:
Craigslist at that time provided a simple, familiar forum through which I could do my business with complete anonymity, from the safety and convenience of my own home. At Craigslist.org, I was able to bill myself as exactly what I was at the time: a graduate student, bored and curious, sexually uninhibited, looking to make a little money while having a little fun.
She said she got to decide what she would and would not do, and she got to keep all her money she made and did not have to share with a pimp.
Many are now questioning why it took so long for school officials to deal with this issue as a quick Google of her name uncovers a number of older posts about her past. She never published under a pseudonym and was warned that if she was not more cautious about her past she could get in trouble in her profession. One of the first Google results for her name is a video called Stripping in Mexico, but it is not what you may think, it's a video of her reading a story she wrote about being a stripper in Mexico.
Other supporters say her past does not matter as she is a teacher now and is no longer part of the sex trade.
On the HuffPo, Melissa Petro wrote that selling herself for money became too demanding and she left the business a few months after she started.
However, she criticized Craigslist for shutting down its erotic section.
On Thursday, September 4th, cowing to ongoing criticism from attorney generals and advocacy groups, Craigslist shut down what had come to be called its "adult services" section, replacing the link with a black and white bar that reads "censored." This, after years of Craigslist founder Craig Newmark fighting such pressure, is a disappointing display of him abandoning the very principles of freedom on which his site was founded and feels more a violation than ever I experienced on even my worst "dates."
She wrote that there are many people whose source of income are being crippled by Craigslist's decision and she understood she was risking her current job to speak out in this way.
The simple fact is that people do have sex for money -- many different kinds of people for many different reasons, people as varied as those looking to buy concert tickets, sell a collectible or adopt a pet -- and these people will continue to. Whether the choice to do so is being dignified and protected with its own forum or whether what was once that safe space remains appropriately labeled "censored," that choice, without a court order one way or another, remains up to Newmark.