Venoy Overton: Hardwood Hustla?

The pimping charges against the former University of Washington star.

If the charges brought against Venoy Overton are any indication, pimping is actually quite easy. The problem is that it's not only not very lucrative, it's also illegal. Court documents released last week detail the weeks-long investigation of Overton, a troubled former University of Washington basketball star arrested last Thursday afternoon on charges of promoting prostitution. The case against Overton originated at a Chevron station on Pacific Highway South at 10 p.m. on May 20, when two undercover detectives spotted a young woman standing in the gas station's parking lot. The woman was wearing "tight black leggings, a black jacket, and flat sandal-type shoes" and talking to a man. The cops suspected she was a prostitute and set up a sting. As the woman walked the nearby stretch of highway, known as "the track" by johns and hookers, according to the police, the plainclothes detectives invited her into their car. She offered sex for $200. The police outed themselves, and the woman spilled her guts. She said that she'd only been "walking the track" for the past three nights. She said that Overton was her boyfriend, and that he pushed her to start selling herself on the streets "as a way to make easy money." She told the detectives that she first met Overton last September, but didn't start dating him until around Thanksgiving. Police obtained Overton's cell-phone records and confirmed that the couple frequently traded calls and texts. The woman, whose name is being withheld by police and prosecutors, reportedly said that on May 18, she "called Overton crying because she wasn't making enough money at her part-time job." She claimed that she gave Overton, who is unemployed, half of her earnings. Overton, in turn, allegedly promised to "take care of her once he made it to the NBA." The woman said that on the night of the 18th, Overton drove her to the Chevron station in a " 'UW purple'-colored Chevy Caprice with rims and tinted windows." He allegedly schooled her on the "going rates" for prostitutes, told her to get the cash from her johns up front, to "walk slow and sexy," and to watch out for undercover police. The woman told police she was "scared shitless" about the whole thing, but went along with it after Overton reassured her that "she just needed to get that first trick out of the way and it will get easier." Overton also allegedly said that "he would do it for her if he could." After servicing her first john for $200, Overton reportedly "told her good job and that he was proud of her." She said that she handed over half of her earnings, and Overton used the money to fill his gas tank and buy a cigar. Police later obtained surveillance footage from the gas station which showed Overton buying a cigar on the night in question. The woman also allowed police to examine her cell phone. The officers found several damning texts from Overton. In one exchange, the woman sent a message to Overton saying "This is scary shit," to which he replied, "Ya bout [sic] you got the mouth for it." On another occasion, when she didn't want to get out of the car, the woman told police that Overton said "Bitch just get out there and see if you can make some money." When Overton was arrested last week, he initially denied that the woman was his girlfriend. Instead, he said in a recorded statement that she was "in love with him and probably believed" that she was his girlfriend. He described how she routinely gave him money because the first time they met he said to her, "If you wanna talk to me you gotta give me some money or something." Overton said the woman often gave him cash, and had handed over nearly $3,000 over the course of their relationship because "he would ask for it and complain." He also claimed it had been the woman's idea to become a hooker, not his. He merely advised her of "a hot track" where she'd find johns, and gave her a lift. He claimed the money she gave him after turning her first trick was for gas and the ride. Overton, the report says, "told us he knew that he was wrong and stated he screwed up." Asked why he did it, Overton reportedly replied, "I'm not gonna turn down money from a girl." This is not Overton's first run-in with the authorities. In January he was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl during an "orgy party" at his sister's apartment in the Central District. The 23-year-old Overton was never charged, and a Seattle police report that included transcripts of detectives' interviews with Overton, the girl, and two witnesses present during the encounter indicated that the sex was consensual. Overton was, however, charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor, a misdemeanor. On March 31, a judge granted him a "dispositional continuance," allowing the charge to be dropped if Overton performed community service and was not charged with another crime in the next year. This latest arrest stands to ruin that arrangement. In light of the new charges, The Seattle Times also managed to unearth some more sleazy details about Overton. The paper of record reported last Saturday that in August 2009, when Overton was a sophomore at UW, he was investigated by Seattle police for drunkenly propositioning his 15-year-old cousin via text message. According to the Times report, Overton allegedly sent his teenage relative a text that read "Cousin or not, sex is sex," and threatened the girl's mother, presumably his aunt, by saying he had "two friends ready to [beat] her up" if the woman contacted police. The girl's mother complained, but Overton was not arrested and prosecutors declined to file charges, apparently buying the baller's excuse that his cousin had the same name as another girl he had on booty-call speed dial. Even before he was facing a felony conviction, Overton's chances of making it as a professional were slimmer than Manute Bol. (For those who aren't basketball fans, just imagine a light pole with an eating disorder.) While three of his UW teammates—Isaiah Thomas, Justin Holiday, and Matthew Bryan-Amaning—stand a chance of getting picked in Thursday's NBA draft, Overton is a one-dimensional player. He is known for tenacious, in-your-face defense (his nickname was "The Pest"), but he struggles to sink jump shots consistently—a struggle that's likely to continue, now that it appears his next game might come in a prison yard.

 
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