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Florida Jury Finds Shefights Website Owner Guilty of Abuse


Offbeat  (tags: abuse, homeless, website, trial, crime )

Dale
- 1774 days ago - wfla.com
Jeffery Williams was for many years a right-wing scourge of this web community for his arrogant attacks on liberals and environmentalists in various Care2 groups. Now he has a criminal record to add to his long list of dishonors!



   

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Dale Husband (123)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 6:21 am
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL - Two people accused of abusing a mentally disabled man for the notorious shefights.net website were found guilty by a Pinellas County jury late Thursday afternoon.

Pinellas prosecutors say the St. Petersburg-based website's producer Jeffery Williams and one of his female fighters, ZuZu Vargo, took advantage of a mentally disabled man they hired to take a beating.

The jury deliberated for about two hours before reaching a verdict. Williams and Vargo were both convicted of aggravated abuse of a disabled adult. They could face up to 30 years in prison. The sentencing phase of the trial will be held at a later date. Williams had been awaiting trial in jail since April 2012.

During the trial, James Cayer testified he was recruited out of Williams Park by Vargo, who went by the stage name "Cindy." Cayer testified he was offered 20 or 25 dollars if he would get in the ring with Vargo for a bout in which he was not allowed to fight back or defend himself.

Here is a sample of the questioning in court, between Cayer and the State Attorney:

Attorney: Did you have fun in the ring with Cindy? Cayer: No. Attorney: Did it feel good to you for some reason? Cayer: Nope. Attorney: Did it feel good afterwards? Cayer: No.

Wednesday, prosecutors played a video in which Vargo repeated kicked and punched Cayer. he could be heard groaning loudly with each blow in the 2011 video titled "A Very Painful Beating."

Cayer testified his ten minutes in the ring with Vargo hurt "big time" and he was sore enough after the fight to seek treatment at a local hospital.

Prosecutors said Cayer is mildly mentally retarded and has the capacity of a ten-year old.

Defense lawyers say Cayer was competent enough to earn a certificate from high school and to sign a release for his participation. Cayer said he was too ashamed at the time to admit he didn't understand what he was signing.
 

Dale Husband (123)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 6:24 am
Here's an earlier story to provide some background:

http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/civil/court-records-offer-inside-look-at-shefightsnet/1245645

Monday, August 13, 2012 7:12pm

Jeffery Williams says he is a former financial adviser with a master's degree in German literature and a side interest in getting whipped.

His hobby led him to create the websites Shefights.net and Shepunishes.com, which featured videos of young women whipping and beating men.

It all made national news last year after advocates filed a lawsuit against Williams and his company, claiming he was targeting vulnerable homeless people for the beatings. Three months ago, a police investigation ended with the arrests of Williams and one of his fighters on two charges of aggravated battery of disabled adults.

As Williams, 59, sits in the Pinellas County jail awaiting his criminal trial, lawyers in his civil case have interviewed several key players, including Williams, two of his fighters and two of the men who were beaten.

Their stories, revealed in court records, shine a spotlight on how an esoteric interest in the Internet age can become a thriving business and also, according to advocates, a vehicle for exploiting the desperate.

One female performer says she was paid as much as $800 to make videos in which she boxed and whipped men, sometimes drawing blood with lashes to their backs.

Some of the beatings occurred in a small business called the Ringside Studio on S Missouri Avenue in Clearwater, according to the sworn testimony.

Two men said they agreed to videotaped beatings when they were homeless because the money sounded good and no one was going to get hurt, other than them.

But once the beating began, one said, it turned "very horrific, very brutal and very terrifying."

For his part, Williams says the men who participated in the beatings and whippings did so voluntarily. Some like it, he said in his deposition. He denied making any effort to target homeless people and said most of the men were not homeless.

It's true that he did eventually learn a couple were homeless men who hung around Williams Park in St. Petersburg, he said, but at first, "we had no idea they were homeless but on the other hand, it didn't make any difference. They are as entitled to the work as anybody else."

The female fighter who was arrested with Williams, Zuzu Irvina Vargo, 25, of St. Petersburg does not appear to have been interviewed yet. Police say she was arrested because two of the men she beat at a home owned by Williams were mentally disabled.

Luke Lirot, Williams' attorney, said he questions whether the men in the criminal case are truly disabled.

Williams told lawyers during his deposition that he has worked as a financial adviser for Wachovia Securities and Edward Jones, and that he "built a consulting business at Price Waterhouse and then later at IBM Consulting."

He said he has enjoyed getting beaten or whipped by women since he was 15. He came up with the idea for the website while dealing with the loss of someone close. He placed an ad seeking fighters, posted some videos and "much to my surprise, we quickly became successful."

He launched the business full time. Court records listed titles of some of his videos: Brutal Blondes: Julie and Tina Destroy Thumper, Bikini Beatdown and Athena Beats Up an Old Boyfriend.

Williams said he shot most of the videos himself. Some were filmed in the garage of his St. Petersburg townhouse, others in Orlando and Pompano Beach. Many were at Clearwater's Ringside Studio.

Michelle Sharp, a former bikini dancer and knife saleswoman, participated in several beatings. Using the stage name Mikaela, she said she put on boxing gloves and hit guys in the face, kicked them in the head and whipped them, sometimes drawing blood.

"Some men come in there thinking that you know, we hit like little girls. So when you do hit them hard, they are like 'whoa!' " she said in her deposition. The men, she said, "they just wanted to be dominated some of them like the beat down, some of them liked the whipping."

Another performer was Tina Caccavale, who said she used to play for the Miami Caliente of the Lingerie Football League.

The rules of a beatdown, she said, were that the female fighters could "kick, punch, knee, slap" or whip, but the guys were not allowed to hit back.

"Whenever anyone wants a break on either side they can," she said, adding "it's actually like a great workout."

One of the homeless men, George Grayson, said he agreed to the beatings because he needed the $25 to $50. The same was true for Ronn Boykins, who said he had worked as an extra for two movies when he lived in California.

Boykins said he was told the beatings wouldn't hurt much. But then he was driven to an Orlando warehouse and told to take off his shoes and shirt. He was made to grab a large metal ring hanging from the ceiling, he said, and the whipping began.

"I believe I urinated on myself," he said. "And then the third time I cried out. I told them to stop. I couldn't handle it."

The woman who was hitting him stopped, but was "telling me that I could finish this and how strong I am. And that she needed this to be done."

And then he was hit more with a bullwhip and belts. Eventually, he said, "I don't want this girl hitting me any more this chick is crazy." And it stopped.

Assistant State Attorney Kendall Davidson said prosecutors contend two other men who were mentally disabled and unable to consent were also beaten.

No date has been set for a criminal trial. The civil trial is set for February.
 

Nancy M (152)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 7:01 am
Thanks for posting this. I am sure there are many interested in the outcome of this case.
 

Past Member (2031)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 7:09 am
I'm glad there was a conviction in this case. The bottom line is that a mentally disabled man was beat up in a video for profit. Shameful!
 

Dale Husband (123)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 7:13 am
Yes, this was NOT acting like in a movie or TV show in which the beatings were fake with makeup. This was showing REAL beatings that could have killed someone eventually.
 

Sue H (7)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 9:09 am
Should we send Jeffrey a C2 card, signed by all those he so often offended here??
 

Animae C (507)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 12:04 pm
Poetic justice.
 

Kerrie G (116)
Thursday January 9, 2014, 8:36 pm
Noted, thanks.
 

Bob P (394)
Friday January 10, 2014, 5:47 am
Thanks Dale
 

Past Member (2031)
Friday January 10, 2014, 7:12 am
I never had a problem with Jeffrey Williams here at Care 2. We were never linked as friends but he was in at least one of my groups without causing a problem. I simply think that beating up a disabled person for any reason is outrageous.

 

Past Member (0)
Friday January 10, 2014, 7:16 am
Not only was this ugly.
The women also showed themselves as incredible stupid.
 

Frances Darcy (124)
Friday January 10, 2014, 7:39 am
noted
 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday December 30, 2014, 10:22 am
Ugly isn't the word. It's a heinous crime. Thank you for the follow up Dale.
 

Louise D (44)
Tuesday April 21, 2015, 11:08 am
I remember him and his tag team friend - who was justifying torture in a post not too long ago I always wondered if she subscribed to his site - I suspect she may have.
 
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