Sex workers are humans, too

This guy, Eustachio Gallese, is a piece of work. He’s a convicted spousal abuser and violent murderer. Fortunately, he was taken off the streets; unfortunately, that was after Chantal Deschênes was killed.

In 1997, Gallese was convicted for conjugal violence. Seven years later, Gallese murdered his 32-year-old partner, Chantal Deschênes, beating her first with a hammer and then repeatedly stabbing her.

He was sentenced in 2006 to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years, and deemed at high risk of committing violence against a partner a year later.

But, at some point, that risk evaluation was revised to moderate and in 2016 — five years before he was due for parole — Gallese was allowed supervised outings.

This is the point where the story gets worse, if you can imagine that. The parole board decided he had “needs” that needed to be met.

He had sexual needs, his caseworker told the board. But because Gallese wasn’t deemed ready to have relationships with a woman, buying sexual services was the solution to satisfying his “sexual needs.”

It’s a solution that blatantly disregards the fact that buying sexual services is a criminal offence, as is operating a brothel.

But, more tragically, the order was approved with cruel disregard for the unsuspecting women on whom Gallese was set loose.

Hey, pay attention to the telling line, “because Gallese wasn’t deemed ready to have relationships with a woman, buying sexual services was the solution”. Because I guess sex workers don’t count as women? If I were on that board, I would have authorized buying him a fleshlight (NSFW!), a bucket of lube, and a pile of magazines, but I would not have decided that a man who wasn’t ready to deal with women, and who had brutally murdered a woman, should have access to a sex worker, unless, maybe, it was a robot sex worker. But that’s what they approved: they turned him loose on a woman who was a sex worker and the results were horrendous.

On Jan. 23 this year, Gallese turned himself in to Quebec City police and pointed them to the hotel room where they found the body of 22-year-old Marylène Lévesque. He’s since been charged with murder.

Lévesque had defensive wounds and had been stabbed, according to Le Journal de Quebec. The newspaper also reported that Lévesque had worked in a massage parlour and that Gallese was a regular customer, and had bought her gifts including a television for Christmas.

But both the Montreal Gazette and Le Soleil reported that Gallese had been banned from the brothel because he had been violent with several others who worked there.

Not only did he have a history of prior convictions, but he had a more recent history of violence at a local brothel, none of which affected the board’s decision to let him visit a sex worker. Who was incidentally a woman. Because they unconsciously dehumanized sex workers.

Sex work should be decriminalized if for no other reason than that these people are people who deserve all the protections and rights granted to other citizens.

Also, the people who authorized this release need to be fired, at the very least. Christ. Dead at 22 because a bureaucrat thought she was disposable, and had fewer rights than a convicted murderer.


  1. cartomancer says

    Nobody has sexual “needs”.

    At most they have sexual “desires”. Something which many, probably most, of us never get the chance to satisfy. Sexual intercourse with others is not a “need”, any more than ice cream or go-kart racing or being given a million pounds a week is a “need”.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    I would have authorized buying him a fleshlight …

    Why? The linked article strongly implies he has hands.

  3. christoph says

    Another reason to not like Bloomberg, if you don’t have enough reasons already: He had a schoolteacher fired for writing an article about being a sex worker three years prior to getting her teaching job. I believe his exact quote was, “We’re not having her in front of a class.” I can imagine a self satisfied smirk on his face as he said that.

  4. brightmoon says

    I had the unfortunate experience of living right above a Hooker stroll. I would see so much crap that I actually would look out the window rather than watch tv. One night I saw one of the women get a bad beating. I went downstairs and spoke to her once her pimp left. I convinced her to file charges. The cops refused to take the complaint because she was a “known prostitute”. She grabbed me and dragged me out of the station before I blew up and got myself in trouble. We later sat down and had a long talk about accepting violent behavior from loser men. Thankfully something sunk in and I never saw her with that asshole again

  5. katahdin says

    Decriminalize sex work? Aren’t there arguments against that because it makes sex trafficking easier?

  6. says

    @8 katahdin

    Decriminalize sex work? Aren’t there arguments against that because it makes sex trafficking easier?

    Yes, but those arguments are ideological excuses which are not supported by evidence nor by the lived experience of the people affected. So are there arguments? Yes. Are there valid arguments? No.

  7. microraptor says

    Actually, I believe that prostitution in Canada was decriminalized quite some time ago.

  8. says

    Decriminalize sex work? Aren’t there arguments against that because it makes sex trafficking easier?

    Those so called “arguments” are fucking nonsense.

    Here is a speech in which a sex worker and an activist explains under what kind of laws she wants to work.

    Here is another speech from another sex worker.

    Instead of propagating religiously inspired nonsense about how sex workers aren’t fully human and deserve little legal protection, you could actually try to listen to sex workers themselves. In countries where it is legally possible, they have their own voices and they are capable of deciding for themselves.

  9. microraptor says

    Also, Gallese’s caseworker and everyone on the board who approved this idiotic idea should be charged as an accessory to that woman’s murder.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    He had sexual needs, his caseworker told the board. But because Gallese wasn’t deemed ready to have relationships with a woman, buying sexual services was the solution to satisfying his “sexual needs.”

    Sounds like something the Incels would demand.

  11. says

    @10 microraptor

    Nope. Seemingly we backslid on this one. It used to be de facto legal but we adopted the widely-deplored ‘Nordic Model’ in 2014. Because the Conservatives couldn’t leave power without fucking up SOMEONE’S civil rights, or they’d have to call the administration a failure.

  12. says

    Reminder that FOSTA-SESTA was passed precisely on the “sex work is immoral so it’s okay to harm sex workers to go after human trafficking” argument, with the result that sex workers — who are usually pretty destitute — can no longer report abusive or criminal behavior to the law without losing everything. And also, reminder that both Warren and Sanders fell for that line of thinking and voted for the bill.

  13. Artor says

    ” Because they unconsciously dehumanized sex workers…”

    I’m not so sure it was unconscious. I think they openly and consciously consider sex workers to be 2nd or 3rd-class citizens.

  14. numerobis says

    It’s a pretty big scandal here, both provincially and nationally. Nobody is trying to defend this; it’s all about how the F that could possibly get signed off.

  15. jrkrideau says

    @ 19 microraptor
    I believe that technically “selling heterosexual sex” has never been illegal in Canada. However, as abbeycadabra @ 14 says the %$&& Cons adopted the Nordic Model that makes everything else about prostitution illegal including spending the money earned!

    The Harper Gov’t never missed a chance to kick someone if they were down.

  16. Trickster Goddess says

    Prior to the “Nordic Model” being adopted in Canada, until then, since the 1980s, the law was that is was legal to sell sex services and it was legal to buy sex services, but was made illegal to “communicate for the purposes of solicitation.” So if a customer asked “how much?”, or if they tried to negotiate price or parameters of service, they both could get arrested.

    This lead to workers being quick to jump in the cars of prospective clients instead taking the time to evaluate them in order to avoid being seeing by the police to be “communicating.”

    The ended up being a boon to the serial killer industry. Google “Robert Pickton”.

  17. mamba says

    Yeah, I’m canadian, and they did decriminalize prostitution…and then wrote so many rules that it’s basically impossible to BE a prostitute.

    In essence it was determined that selling sex is not illegal and woman can do what they want with their bodies. But you’re not allowed to advertise yourself as a prostitute. You’re not allowed to work at a brothel or any type of establishment for prostitution. You’re not allowed to communicate that you are a prostitute on the street. As a purchaser you are not allowed to talk about money being exchanged for sex specifically.

    See the issue? They basically made it 100% illegal again by making everything AROUND prostitution illegal. But on the books technically prostitution is legal. HOW you’d buy the services of one legally though is another matter!!! The gouvernment’s official position on that is apparently “Not our problem, we gave you what you wanted now YOU figure it out, whore!”

    I think they followed the American model on abortion for this…make abortion legal, but make it damn near impossible to GET one…that way you can claim you support them when you clearly do not.

  18. Kagehi says

    @6 christoph

    This is exactly what many sex workers say about any kind of job, other than sex work. Even when they where deemed “criminals” instead of “victims” they couldn’t get a job, even sometimes in fast food, if the possible employer found out about their past work. This is nuts, given that there are generally businesses that hire convicts, and rules that involve finding them work, if they get out of prison (or at least helping point them in a meaningful direction, if nothing else). Now that they are “victims”, they don’t even have these choices, opportunities, or rights.