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ATHANASAW AND SAMPSON v. UNITED STATES.

decided: February 24, 1913.

ATHANASAW AND SAMPSON
v.
UNITED STATES.



ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA.

Author: Mckenna

[ 227 U.S. Page 327]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

Indictment for violating the act of Congress of June 25, 1910, known as the White Slave Act. 36 Stat. 825, c. 395.

The charge is that the defendant transported or caused to be transported, or aided in the transportation of a girl

[ 227 U.S. Page 328]

     by the name of Agnes Couch from Atlanta, Georgia, to Tampa, Florida, for the purpose of debauchery.

A crime is variously charged against ยงยง 2 and 3 of the act in thirty-nine counts, alleging that the transportation was for "the purpose of debauchery" or "to give herself up to debauchery."

A demurrer was filed to the indictment, alleging as grounds thereof the unconstitutionality of the act and that the indictment was insufficient in certain particulars of fact. The demurrer was overruled, and after a trial upon a plea of not guilty defendants were convicted. Defendant Athanasaw was sentenced to imprisonment for two years and six months and the defendant Sampson for one year and three months. The contentions of the defendants are that the act of Congress is unconstitutional and that errors were committed by the District Court in giving and refusing to give certain instructions to the jury.

1. This case was argued and submitted with No. 381, Hoke v. United States, ante, p. 308. The constitutionality of the law was sustained in that case, and further discussion is unnecessary.

2. To understand the ruling of the court on the instructions an outline of the facts must be stated. Agnes Couch was a girl of seventeen years. She lived at Suwanee, Georgia; but, being in Atlanta in September, 1911, and seeing an advertisement by one Sam Massel for chorus girls, she applied at his office and signed a contract to appear with the Imperial Musical Comedy Company at the Imperial Theatre, Tampa, Florida, as a chorus girl at a salary of $20 a week for the first four weeks and $15 a week thereafter, she to room and board in the theatre. The theatre was operated by the defendants, and Massel acted as their booking representative at Atlanta. After she signed the contract Massel gave her a railroad ticket which had been provided by the defendants for that

[ 227 U.S. Page 329]

     purpose. She arrived at Tampa about 6:30 a.m. and met the defendant Athanasaw at seven o'clock.

As to what then took place, the girl testified as follows: "He showed me my room, and took the check to get my trunk. I went to sleep and slept until 2 o'clock in the afternoon. At that hour one of the girls awoke me up to rehearse. I went down in the theatre and stayed there about an hour rehearsing, singing; and then went to lunch in the dining room. All of the girls were there, and several boys. I had never had any stage experience. At lunch they were all smoking, cursing, and using such language I couldn't eat. After lunch I went to my room, and about 6 o'clock Louis Athanasaw, one of the defendants, came and said to me I would like it all right; that I was good looking and would make a hit, and not to let any of the boys fool me, and not be any of the boys' girl; to be his. He wanted me to be his girl; to talk to the boys and make a hit, and get all of the money I could out of them. His room was next to mine, and he told me he was coming in my room that night and sleep with me; and he kissed and caressed me. He told me to dress for the show that night and come down into the boxes. I went into the box about 9 o'clock. About that time Louis Athanasaw's son knocked on my door and told me to come to the boxes. In the box where I went there were four boys; they were smoking, cursing, and drinking. I sat down and the boys asked me what was the matter, I looked scared. I told them I was ashamed of being in a place like that; ...


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