Is Local Gay Publication HotSpots Porn? Feds Might Think So
According to the criminal complaint, Mendoza's car was stocked with "condoms, lubricant and homosexual pornographic magazines" when he pulled into the parking lot to meet the teenager.
But a friend of Mendoza's says the feds got it wrong, that said porno mags are nothing more than some back issues of HotSpots, a local gay publication available throughout Wilton Manors and similarly gay-friendly neighborhoods.
"Those weren't porno magazines. They were issues of HotSpots, a gay community magazine," says a man who identifies himself as Lazaro and claims to be close friends with Mendoza. "They do have pictures of sexy guys, but it's not a pornographic magazine. The only reason John had them in there is because he looks for jobs in the back."
While Lazaro doesn't have concrete evidence, he says he was often in Mendoza's car, which was loaded with back issues of HotSpots. Lazaro also accuses the feds of targeting a man who struggled with depression and had severe self-esteem issues.
Jeff Scott, associate publisher of HotSpots, says the magazine is just a local entertainment guide that's not even remotely pornographic.
"We don't allow frontal nudity," Scott explains. "We do allow back nudity if it's in a position you can see on TV or on a billboard. In other words, they can't be bent over or anything like that."
The Department of Justice wouldn't confirm whether the magazines were in fact just some issues of HotSpots, nor would it comment on the case.
It's odd that someone who was tech-savvy enough to entice a minor using an iPhone app and email a picture of his junk in under a minute would stock his car with old-fashioned printed porn.
But whether Mendoza came equipped with legit smut or an entertainment guide is the least of his worries. He admitted after being read his Miranda rights that he sent a picture of his penis to what he thought was a teenaged boy and engaged in sexually explicit conversations.
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