Will John Hauff's Gorean Bondage Fetish Set Him Free?

The alleged rape of an Aurora Avenue prostitute exposes a unique sci-fi sexual subculture.

It was about 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, the second of April, the young woman recalled. She was working Aurora Avenue, at the corner of 82nd Street, next to a used-car lot filled with cheap rides for unreliable debtors. A blue station wagon drove up. The driver had white hair, and looked about 70. She got in. He told her his name was John, and that he wanted to take her to his place in Tacoma. Once there, he said, he wanted to tie her to the bedpost and use an electric vibrator on her. The young woman agreed, but said she didn't want to be tied up too tightly. They settled on a price of $100. Whether out of routine caution or nagging suspicion, the woman decided it best to text John's license-plate number to a man she later described to a police detective as her boyfriend. She asked if they could stop for some cigarettes. John pulled into the orange glow of the 76 station three blocks up Aurora. He gave her some cash for the smokes. Once out of his sight, she sent her text. They headed south on I-5. After exiting in Federal Way, it was John's turn to make a request. He wanted to put her in a blindfold, he said, so she wouldn't know where he lived. He also wanted to bind her wrists. She agreed. Within 10 minutes, the obedient but increasingly uneasy woman was stealing glimpses of his neighbors' houses through her blindfold. After passing a patch of woods, the car stopped in front of a metal gate. John got out and unlocked it. As they rode the final few hundred feet down a gravel road, the woman discerned the outlines of a gutted tractor and a shed. She got out of the car, in front of a trailer. John led the woman inside, then through a second doorway a foot thick. He put a chain around her neck and locked it. Pulling off her blindfold, she saw she was chained to the ceiling of a small room. All around, hanging from the walls, were whips, ropes, and chains. She screamed and pleaded for him to let her go, offering to walk home without payment. "No," he replied, with a smirk. She asked if he was planning to hurt her. "Yes," he answered. She asked if he was going to kill her. "We'll see," he said. John stripped the woman naked and strapped her to a table. She lay on her back, still chained to the ceiling. He told her that he was the master. Leaving her alone for 15 minutes, he returned to start plucking her pubic hair. He asked her if it hurt. She said it did. Using a rope, he tied her breasts so tightly she felt the flow of blood slow. Placing electrodes on her, he shocked her. This went on, the woman would later tell police, for three hours. John took out a speculum, and with it opened the woman's vagina, then closed it. He did so repeatedly, for half an hour. Next he took out a catheter, which he used to pump her bladder so full of liquid she thought it would burst. While doing this, he used clamps to open her vagina, and pulled it farther open with wire or rope; she wasn't sure which. He warned her not to fight back. "If you think I've been mean so far," he told her, "just try to hurt me." He's going to kill me and bury me in the yard, she thought. John pulled out a paddle and hit the woman with it all over her body. This continued for what felt like hours and hours. Finally, the woman reached her breaking point. She told John about the text message. She didn't know how he'd react—if he'd kill her or spare her. After locating the text, John softened. He gave the young woman her clothes back and allowed her to dress. He asked where she wanted to go. Blindfolding her one last time, he led her from his trailer. He took it off once they were close to the freeway, and gave her another $100. Involving the cops, he told her, wasn't necessary. It had all been a game, he said, and besides, she hadn't been seriously hurt. He dropped her off on Rainier Avenue. Several days and one long talk with her mother later, the woman went to the cops, ready to give a statement. On April 16, the police came to John Hauff's door. They found him inside, where they arrested him without incident. In searching Hauff's home, they found the "torture room" as the woman had described it. They found instructions on how to bind a woman. They also found books—books that Hauff had told the woman about on their drive back to Seattle, in a conversation she hadn't really followed. They were sci-fi novels set on a planet called Gor. The detective, Harry S. James, went online and found an excerpt for his report, in which the alleged victim's name is redacted. " 'The Perfect Bondage' is said to be one man and one woman, the complete master, the complete slave, ideal and perfect for each other's needs," he quoted from Slave Girl of Gor. The quotation, wrote the detective, "seemed consistent with what the suspect had done and said to the victim." He forwarded the case to the King County Prosecutor's Office. After prosecutors charged the 66-year-old Hauff with first-degree counts of kidnapping and rape and with second-degree assault, police asked women with similar stories to come forward. They announced a search of Hauff's yard for bodies. Along with his name, they released a photograph of Hauff, his Jack Nicholson gaze showing perhaps a hint of anger. We search these eyes and plumb their depths in search of all the evil we can imagine. But is John Hauff a monster? Or is there, as some in the bondage community suggest, another way to interpret what happened between John Hauff and the woman he picked up on Aurora Avenue on April 2—one that makes Hauff less a cruel and sadistic rapist than a participant in a bondage session gone haywire? On Father's Day in King County Jail, John Hauff is waiting on the wrong side of the Plexiglas window when his lawyer arrives with a reporter in tow. Hauff's hair is cut short, his forehead deeply lined, and his eyes softer and bluer than in his mug shot. His oversized, burnt-red jail outfit makes him look small, almost frail. "Hi," he says quietly. He has agreed to talk about his life and lifestyle, but not about the events that landed him in jail. According to Det. James' report, Hauff gave a statement to the cops after his arrest, acknowledging that he had picked up the 24-year-old prostitute on Aurora Avenue and taken her home. He also acknowledged tying her up, plucking, prodding, poking, and shocking her—and not stopping the first two times she asked him to before taking her back to Seattle. Neither Hauff nor his attorneys will say whether the report paints an accurate portrayal of what he told the cops. After an unsuccessful attempt to get the case moved to Pierce County, Hauff is next due in court in mid-August. "I'm not guilty of what they're saying," he says, a measure of defiance creeping into his voice. Then, the immense task of rescuing his name before him, he begins his tale. Ten years ago, John Hauff's first marriage was falling apart. His wife, a Filipina 25 years his junior, was spending most of her time in her home country. He was lonely. And when watching bondage pornography and chatting with women online started to get stale, he decided to find something more visceral. Nestled anonymously amid Interbay warehouses is the undisputed mecca of the Pacific Northwest's fetish community. Officially named the Center for Sex Positive Culture, it is universally known by its previous, catchier moniker: the Wet Spot. With its huge, unfinished rooms, mismatched, well-worn couches, and pictures of naked people on the walls, it could pass for a Hell's Angels clubhouse—if not for the chains, ropes, bondage beds, strap-in chairs, and cages scattered about. The bulk of the 10,000-square-foot space consists of two playrooms. Off the main room is a small space made up to look up like a doctor's examination room, complete with a laminated child's body chart on the wall. There's also the "sex area," a private room with two king-size beds and a large linen closet. Volunteers do 10 to 20 loads of laundry per night. Nights at the Wet Spot are typically raucous, and newcomers are taken as they come. Hauff, who joined about a decade ago, came quietly. As women joyfully whipped men tied to posts, and as men lustily flogged naked and bound women, he played the wallflower. He was too shy to participate. "I'm not good in a setting with lots of people around," he explains. It was a couple of years before a woman he'd met at the Wet Spot—"We were friends, but didn't go anywhere with it," Hauff says—suggested he go to lunch at a Mexican place in Tacoma with a handful of other kink-minded individuals. Such meet-ups, called "munches," function as low-pressure mixers for fetishists. It was at this munch that Hauff caught the eye of Linda, a heavyset, middle-aged, soon-to-be ex-wife of a trucker. She struck up a conversation with him. She seemed nice, and they became friends. Soon they were getting together to role-play—or do "scenes," in bondage argot. Within the year, they were married. Their relationship, they agreed, would be traditional. Very traditional: He would be her master, and she his slave. After a lifetime spent doing manual labor—he'd spent years salvaging large machinery, and owned a pair of tugboats that he used to tug junked ships up the coast to strip down and sell for scrap—Hauff was ready for a professional change as well. Linda had a plan. Together, they would open a knickknack store in Federal Way. She'd already picked out a name: The Candle Boutique. With Linda's experience in retail, she took charge of stocking the store with vases, candelabras, and candles in all shapes, sizes, and scents, and of dealing with wholesalers and chatting up customers. Hauff was relegated to the role of silent partner and money man. As the store required continuous cash infusions to stay afloat, so did his bank account. Even after selling a six-acre parcel of land he owned in eastern Tacoma to a conservation group for $750,000 in October 2006, the money "just evaporated," Hauff says. Meanwhile, creditors were on the couple's heels, and unpaid wholesalers started suing them. In the fall of 2007, they stopped paying rent on the store. By 2008, it was closed. The stress of it all was too much for their marriage to take—by the time they'd cleared out their retail space, they were divorced. But Linda had given Hauff a gift that would outlast their bond: an obscure book of science fiction, telling of a world where men are warriors and women their sex slaves. Twice divorced, low on cash, and with his house in foreclosure, Hauff needed a place to live. He turned to a contemporary of his father, a former WWII pilot living on an undeveloped piece of land in a quickly sprawling corner of northeast Tacoma. A scrapper like Hauff, his property was full of old machinery and cars, and Hauff agreed to strip down and haul away the rusting eyesores and split the scrapping proceeds, which he used to pay his $400 monthly rent. Hauff replaced the rat- and bird-infested trailer that was offered him with one of his own. He had a good spot for it, next to a concrete foundation that would be good to build a utility room on. Intrigued by the book he'd gotten from Linda and with plenty of time on his hands, he bought the first dozen Gor books and started reading.  Freshly kidnapped from her unremarkable life on planet Earth, the woman with auburn hair knelt before the training master. Her neck was chained. The master held out a whip and commanded her to put it in her mouth. "I leaned forward a little, and reached out with my lips for the whip," says the female narrator of Witness of Gor, the 26th book in the Gorean Saga. "In ecstasy, I kissed it. I kissed it lovingly and lingeringly. I think that I had never been so happy, or so fulfilled, as in those moments. Then, with my tongue, again and again, softly, tenderly, lovingly, I licked it. I could taste the leather. I feared only the moment when it would be taken from me. Then the implement was drawn back. I looked up into the eyes of he who held the whip. I now knew what, in my heart, I was." Janice, as the narrator has been rechristened by her master, is a remarkably familiar character in the Gorean Saga: an Earth woman kidnapped to the primordial world of Gor, where, after initial reservations, she embraces her true nature as a primping, neck-chain-wearing, multiple-orgasm- having sex slave. (Members of a second, more numerous class of Gorean females, "free women," are as unfulfilled as the slaves are content. Free women are unkempt, veiled creatures who live both in fear and in thrall of the prospect of enslavement.) The first few books in the series, published at the peak of pulp science fiction's popularity in the early 1960s, were fairly standard if unoriginal sword-and-planet adventure stories sprinkled with a bit of kinky sex. Beyond the gender roles, they spelled out a rigid, caste-based social order, where honor reigns supreme and loyalty to one's village and kin is ritualized in the talisman of a "home stone." They made less a splash than a ripple, though enough of one to get a pair of them eventually made into hard-to-watch B movies. The second of these, Outlaw of Gor, co-starring Jack Palance as an evil and powerful high priest, was featured on cult favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which dreadful movies are viewed by a wisecracking pair of robots and their human companion. In one scene, a gaggle of skinny, barely clothed slave women with '80s hair dash around an ornate stone floor in a loosely choreographed routine. "You know, liturgical dance is really weird," observes MST3K's Tom Servo. As the series progresses, the gender roles become more ingrained, and the antifeminist ideas of its author, an aggrieved philosophy professor at Queens College in New York City named John Lange (writing under the nom de plume John Norman), are dealt with more frequently and in often sleep-inducing depth. Even the foreword to a later edition of his own extremely kinky 1974 how-to sex guide, Imaginative Sex, laments Lange's repeated and lengthy descents into diatribe, labeling them a form of dominance inflicted on his readers. "It's almost as bad as reading the Marquis de Sade," wrote queer-studies scholar Pat (now Patrick) Califia in 1997. The list of Gorean detractors is limited only by Gor's obscurity in popular culture. Speaking for a broad constituency within the world of science fiction, English writer Michael Moorcock, who has long championed Lange's marginalization, argues that his work belongs on bookstores' top shelves, out of reach of impressionable young minds. "As science fantasy it is wholly derivative, adding nothing to the subgenre," says Moorcock, named in 2008 by The Times of London as one of England's 100 best postwar fiction writers. "As pornography it's pretty low-level drivel, too. It's completely devoid of literary merit. I can't stand it." And yet, even relegated to the margins, the Gorean Saga gained enough of a following to keep Lange at his writing desk. By the '70s, a handful of superfans, not satisfied merely to read about Gorean masters and slaves, began to live like them. Hard numbers of such Goreans are hard to come by— in 2006, the BBC put their population at 25,000 worldwide—but with several established Gorean role- playing chat rooms, and with websites offering advice on everything from how to serve your master his food to the best way of binding your slave's wrists but a mouse click away, it is unlikely the well will soon run dry. John Lange, who turned 80 in June, declined to be interviewed by Seattle Weekly. But the pride he takes in birthing a subculture whose core value is the voluntary subjugation of women—a reassertion of the natural order, he would call it—pleases him greatly. "How astonishing is the world-wide Gorean phenomenon!" he wrote on gor chronicles.com, a Gor fan site. "I sometimes think of myself as some fellow wandering about, say, a thousand years ago, in some wilderness, who might by accident have discovered magnetism, or some new force of nature, one he did not understand, but one whose reality, once glimpsed, was as undeniable as that of iron ore, or rain, or wind, or lightning."  A large man in an aloha shirt at the Denny's in Burien heaps a second helping of gravy over his hash browns and eggs. "So," asks Master Ray. "What do you want to know?" For several years, until his day job in IT made his attendance impossible, Master Ray led the monthly Gorean discussion group at the Wet Spot. He has been a fetishist for more than 20 years, and a Gorean for most of that time. Master Ray, who asked that his last name not be used for fear of negative professional repercussions, holds the honorific title of "training master." He calls himself this—as do others—because he has spent considerable time over the past 15 years teaching women to be slaves and men to be masters. By his own estimate, about 100 people, both couples and individual women, have studied under him. While he revels in the successes of all his students, it is the single women in search of slave training who have occupied the bulk of his time and effort. Training them is time-consuming. Typically it takes four to six months of daily phone calls and text messages with instructions on everything from when to do the laundry to which dress to wear for their once- or twice-weekly in-person sessions. (Only rarely has he let a slave-in-training move in with him.) Before training can begin, Master Ray will sit down with a potential pupil for a long conversation about her dreams, fantasies, and desires. He then shows her how to make them happen. He shows her how to be tied up, what different types of bondage feel like, and what each implement feels like. The women under his tutelage, he says, "get paddled and spanked and prodded and caned and flogged and whipped. And there's nothing on them afterward but an interesting look on their faces." This gets at an important rule that all masters must follow: "We don't break our toys," notes Master Ray. He teaches students how to relax, how to touch and be touched, how to communicate during the sex act about what does and doesn't feel good, and how to convey things like "Cramp! Time out! Cramp!" Some of his students, he says, had never had an orgasm before coming under his tutelage. A smile crosses Master Ray's broad face. "It's really very sweet and wonderful," he says. "Somebody else may have been there first, but I was the guy who gave them their first orgasms." Sometimes, Master Ray says, once he's finished training a woman, he plays matchmaker and introduces her to a potential master of a suitable age and with similar fetishes. In recent years, he has slowed down. Quadruple bypass surgery has limited his activity, which has added 150 pounds to his frame. "Instead of being the young guy who ran around and did everything, now I'm the old guy who teaches the young guys how to do it right," he says. "At least you still get to have some fun, and think you're young." When the subject turns to John Hauff, Master Ray's face hardens. He's never met the man, he says, pausing to sip from his glass of milk. He knows only what he's seen on TV and heard on the radio. Because he doesn't have all the details, Master Ray cautions that making a judgment "would be improper and foolish." Still, he says, there's something about the young woman's story that troubles him. She acknowledges negotiating up front for a certain amount of bondage, Master Ray points out. She got in his car willingly, and they drove to his place. There was no threat of brutality in the car. "It wasn't a kidnapping," Master Ray says. "It was a negotiated sex scene between a hooker and her client. And somewhere along the line, she crossed her own panic line and cried 'Help!' " As for her texting of Hauff's license-plate number, Master Ray points out that this is standard operating procedure in the fetish community, and doesn't necessarily mean the young woman was unusually leery of Hauff. "We call that a 'safe call.' It's perfectly legitimate and normal," he says. Once she'd revealed the text message to Hauff, Ray continues, "What happened next? She got dressed. He took her back where she belonged. He dropped her off. There was no threat. No murder. No 'Keep quiet or I'll come get you.' " During a bondage session in which the rules have already been agreed upon, a dominant partner's saying something to arouse a submissive partner is as common as flirting, Master Ray says. If, during a bondage scene, Master Ray were asked by a submissive he didn't know if he planned to kill her, he would read it as a sign that this type of talk turned her on. "So I'm going to smirk and say something like 'We'll see,' or 'Maybe later,' or 'Only if you're not pleasing to me, only if you don't satisfy me,' " explains Master Ray. "Call me a smart-ass, but I'm going to say something that is going to elicit a response from her." When the prostitute asked Hauff if he was going to kill her, Master Ray says, "We don't know what tone of voice she used." Her question, he says, could have been understood as a clue that this form of "danger" was a turn-on for her. "And the worst part of it is that between the time it happened and when she finally decided to report it, her feelings, her thoughts, can change," Master Ray says. "Shame can set in. And then he gets punished because now she's feeling bad about it." Still, Master Ray acknowledges, Hauff's alleged use of such techniques as bladder manipulation and electric shock, which are at the outer edges of the bondage-play repertoire, give him pause. "If he did spring this on her, then he crossed a line," Master Ray says. "That would not be tolerated in the [fetish] community."  For Lexi, a soft-faced, short-haired woman approaching 50, finding a dominant role-playing partner was proving a challenge. You have to be careful to weed out the crazies, she knew, and you have to find someone whose interests and fetishes are reasonably in line with your own. It was the spring of 2008, and she responded to a Craigslist posting from a man almost 15 years her senior. "[Y]ou sound interesting," she wrote to John Hauff. "The only thing I would have a problem with is some of your passions . . . and not being able to have a say in some things . . . I am not a slave . . . I am a sub[missive] and I do have limits." Hauff, who was looking for a live-in, "24/7" slave, was willing to give ground on some of his passions. "In our type of relationship, you tell Me what you do not want to do," he responded. "I will respect your limit(s), as I will respect safe words and all needs to stop for safety reasons." A couple of nights later, the two met for dinner at Shari's on Enchanted Drive South in Federal Way. Over steak and potatoes, Hauff told Lexi about himself: his failed marriages, his parents and son, his salvage business, his preference for meat over the veggies the dieting Lexi was eating. It was a pleasant meal, she recalls. "He was older and had longish hair. That I didn't like," says Lexi, who requested that her full name not be used here so as not to let her association with the bondage scene seep into her everyday life. But "he seemed like a nice person." Within a few days, Lexi, full of anticipation, was taking a long shower and shaving herself clean—her ritual before a scene. They'd agreed on ground rules for their first sexual encounter: She'd filled out an exhaustive list of things she was and was not willing to do (yes to blindfolds, heavy bondage, mild pain, toys, vibrators, and genital sex; no to asphyxiation, cauterization, bathroom training, inflatable gags, whips, canes, and cattle prods). She had to be home by a certain hour. And she would communicate her level of comfort mid-scene using stoplight colors: green, yellow, and red. She'd already been to Hauff's house for a daytime, "vanilla" visit, so she knew the way there. Though his place had given her the willies the first time, now in the darkness, as she drove up to it, it was even creepier. The property was dark and barren. The landscape was littered with hulking, rusted-out machines, giving the appearance of a junkyard. It was "like you'd see in a horror flick," she recalls. Inside the trailer, however, it was neat and orderly. He'd set up the scene in the living room, with a couple of eye bolts in the ceiling, along with some chains and rope, a flogger, and a whip or two. It was an ample setup, though it would pale next to the dungeon he told her he planned to build atop the concrete foundation next to the trailer. When they were both ready, she stripped naked. He told her where to stand, and that he would cuff her hands. He pulled her arms over her head, and tied them from the ceiling. He spanked her and flogged her. There wasn't much talking, except for his periodically asking if she was OK. After a couple of hours, when the scene had run its course, she got dressed and went home. It hadn't been bad, but she was turned off by his bad breath, as well as by his hair. They met a few times subsequently and had another scene a couple weeks later, but she soon ended it. Issues of age, money, and hygiene had factored into her decision. "I felt bad about it," she says. "But reality is reality, and that wasn't for me." Nearly three years had passed when Lexi saw Hauff's picture on the TV news. When she heard what he'd been accused of, she was shocked. "He seemed like a really good father and a normal guy," Lexi concludes. "He didn't sound like what they've got in the paper: torture, fiend, monster, dungeon—all this stuff." If he did what the prostitute claims he did, however, "He was doing things that he knows he shouldn't have done."  The first thing Allena Gabosch did when she heard about the 60- something guy with the dungeon accused of raping the prostitute was to look his name up in the Center for Sex Positive Culture's member database. "Thank God he wasn't in there," she says. (Later, told that Hauff had indeed frequented the center, Gabosch let out a sigh. "I'm so bummed to hear that," she said.) In the mid-'90s, Gabosch ran the Beyond the Edge Cafe on Capitol Hill, an eatery doubling as a modest space for hosting themed fetish events. When the Wet Spot came into being in 1999, the popular and gregarious Gabosch was the obvious choice to run it. She's been its executive director ever since, overseeing its expansion into a second building, its split into two nonprofit entities (the member-driven Center for Sex Positive Culture and the education-focused Foundation for Sex Positive Culture), the creation of an 8,000-volume library, an active membership of more than 2,000 people, and multiple workshops, talks, parties, and fuck-fests every night of the year. Unlike Master Ray, whom she has known for more than a decade, Gabosch sees no likely version of the events of April 2 that vindicates John Hauff. If Gabosch were doing a scene with someone she'd just met, she says, and if that person didn't make clear he was into fear and terror play before saying he planned to hurt and possibly kill her, "I'd want to go home." "People that play in that kind of realm are not going to pick up a sex worker," Gabosch adds. "They're going to have an established partner." Also of concern to Gabosch is the nature of the toys—or torture devices—that Hauff allegedly used on the woman. Cattle prods, for instance, are "a pretty intense type of play," she says. "If I was playing with someone I didn't know that well, I wouldn't want that." Rather than defend Hauff, Gabosch empathizes with his alleged victim. "That poor woman," she says. "It must have been terrible." For Gabosch, the Hauff case summons the specter of Eddie Ball, a popular figure in Spokane's kink community in the 1990s. In 2000, Ball masterminded the kidnapping and rape of two Japanese exchange students from Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute in Spokane. He and two accomplices videotaped the rape and threatened to send copies to the girls' relatives if they went to the authorities. As one of his accomplices later told prosecutors, Ball targeted Japanese women because he knew the power of shame in their culture, and the likelihood that that would keep them from coming forward. The victims did go to the police, however, and Ball, with David Dailey and Lana Vickery, pled guilty and were sentenced to prison terms of 26, 25, and 16 years respectively. "It just devastated the kink community in Spokane," recalls Gabosch. "People were crushed." In light of that case, and as a guardian of people whose lifestyles are already viewed with derision by many of those they live among, Gabosch has little time to defend a man she believes to be a predator. "I hope he goes to prison for a long time," she says. "Assuming he's found guilty." The determination of guilt or innocence in cases like Hauff's, says Brad Meryhew, a prominent local attorney specializing in the defense of sex-crime cases, sometimes boils down to the question of consent. "If somebody wants to say to somebody else, 'I'm OK with you tying me up, paddling me, whipping me lightly,' then the law would allow that, and Washington law has recognized that," he says. "But if there's no consent, there's no consent."  In addition to Lexi, Hauff had brief connections and a handful of scenes with two other women he met over the Internet in mid-2008. He finished his dungeon only after all these relationships were over. Around that time, he says, he gave up on being a master. He was too old to garner much interest, and he wearied of putting himself out there. Last year, through his first wife's sister, Hauff met a new woman, a Filipina living in Cebu named Ivy. In her late 30s, Ivy is his first wife's cousin. After many hours of online chatting, last summer Hauff flew to Cebu to pay her a visit. He wound up staying 70 days. "I fell in love with her," he says. In February, he went back for another three weeks. And before "the difficulties," as he refers to his current predicament, he says he'd planned to move to Cebu for good in September and start a new life with his new woman. Goreanism and bondage, he says, were things he intended to leave behind. Hauff has received two letters from Ivy since being jailed, he says. In them, he relates, "She says she loves me and wishes me well and hopes this thing clears up." When asked how he felt upon opening and reading the letters, Hauff can't choke back his tears. "I was very glad to hear from her, and sad that I won't be there," he says. Only two people know what happened the night of April 2, what boundaries were drawn, what deals were struck, and how, when, and to what degree they were breached. It is possible that their understanding of what happened on that night differs. It's possible we'll never know the truth. With the trial scheduled to start next month, each side will have its challenges to overcome. The alleged victim, who declined to speak to Seattle Weekly, could be exposed to questions about her background. Court records show she has struggled with heroin addiction and been sued by creditors, and in 2009 was turned in to police by her own mother after stealing and pawning her diamond ring. For the defense, there is the daunting task of responding to the harrowing story the woman told police. And given John Hauff's experience in negotiating bondage scenes with women, pleading ignorance could prove difficult. Hauff also acknowledges that April 2 wasn't the first time he'd picked up a prostitute. He puts the number of such encounters in his lifetime at fewer than 10, and says he never had sex with any of the women. "It's kind of silly," he says sheepishly. "I'd have them undress and just . . . look at them." What we do know is that no bodies were found in his yard, and no other women have come forward with terrible stories of kidnap and rape. We also know this: The events of April 2 have marked a dark chapter in the lives of prostitute and client alike. jkaminsky@seattleweekly.com

 
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