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Rentboy.com CEO pleads guilty to promoting prostitution

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NEW YORK — The chief executive officer of the website Rentboy.com has pleaded guilty in New York to promoting prostitution.

Jeffrey Hurant faces up to 21 months in prison following his plea Friday in Brooklyn.

The successful site operated for nearly 20 years in an open and racy way, with male escorts paying for ads to attract new — mainly male — customers. That came to an abrupt end last year when law enforcers raided Rentboy's Manhattan offices.

The raid was led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The vast majority of prostitution cases are handled by local authorities.

Federal authorities strenuously denied advocates' claims of anti-gay bias.

Hurant will be sentenced on Feb. 2.