Pornographic film-maker David Allen Crawford and alleged prostitute Agnes Jenges pled not guilty in federal court today to charges of visa fraud and perjury. Jenges, a Hungarian national, and Crawford are accused of entering a sham marriage so that Jenges could stay in the country and ply her trade out of a disorderly house in Sherman Oakes -- which, say authorities, was run by another foreign national who is also accused of entering a sham marriage for similar purposes. The sole reason this story attracts attention is that the pornographer -- known in the industry as "David Lord" -- is based in my hometown of Reseda.
Along with most of the rest of the porn industry, a fact I never knew until after the Northridge Earthquake struck the Valley on January 14, 1994. Starting in about the 1970s, the San Fernando Valley went from being a leader in the aerospace industry to being a huge player in the porn racket, to the tune of several billions of dollars a year. Apparently, a big part of it located itself in Reseda.
Meanwhile, I quietly grew up and pursued my own innocent interests, utterly oblivious to the vice and sleaze lurking just within arm's reach. Then, after the earthquake (actually centered in Reseda) devastated the Valley, the porn people, anticipating the Christian take on events, came out and notified the media that this was not in fact God wreaking His vengeance on the community for tolerating the smut capital of North America in its midst -- as if they would know. And now, instead of turning over a new leaf, this David Crawford character has used up the 14 years since the earthquake to get into hot water with the feds, in furtherance of his scuzzy career.
Reseda odorata is known for its beautiful fragrance, while the area named after it is known for emitting a rather different aroma in the moral order. Let's hope that amid the good work the citizens of Reseda are doing to beautify their streets and storefronts, they make the time to start doing something about the moral blight that has contributed, in the worst possible way, to Reseda's notoriety.