The owner and a former employe of the Stables, a Washington-based outcall service shut down last May in a raid spearheaded by Arlington police have pleaded guilty to prostitution charges in Arlington Circuit Court.

Theodore Leo DuFresne, 32, owner of the business, which catered to homosexuals and operated out of 1902 9th St. NW, is in the county jail after pleading guilty last week to a charge of conspiring to arrange sex-for-hire, the original charge brought against five defendants in the case.

DuFresne will be sentenced Nov. 9 when he will have already served six weeks in jail.

He could face penalties ranging from one day to ten years in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Lawrence Bryan, 23, pleaded guilty last week to a lesser charge of aiding prostitution and was given probation in return for future testimony for the prosecution, said his attorney Andrew Meltz.

The Stables case is one of several that has prompted criticism of Arlington police tactics in bringing prostitution cases against so-called "escort services" based outside the county. The cases often start with a call by an Arlington police officer to the service, inviting a "model" or "escort" into the county. Once in Arlington, the suspect is arrested after allegedly making an incriminating move, violating Virginia's prostitution statutes.

Arlington police say their operations are designed to keep prostitutes out of the county, particularly its numerous hotels and motels. Police also say no defendant has ever successfully charged police with entrapment and that in most cases, the target of the operations are the owners, not the employes, of the services.

Some lawyers have argued Arlington's zeal is misplaced. "Arlington has gotten a little bizarre on these sex cases," said James Lowe, attorney for DuFresne, "They don't have enough crime so they figure they have to go out and import it."

Area police officials have tended to support Arlington's effort. "Arlington has done a lot to keep prostitution down in the Washington area," said Sgt. Will Liston of the Montgomery County Police vice and intelligence unit. "They have a policy of strict enforcement over there which I think is good."

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney David Cayer said DuFresne was owner of TD Enterprise which, in turn, owned the Stables. He said the service employed about 15 male prostitutes who came into Arlington on "more than a dozen" occasions, charging fees of $49 an hour. Cayer said the fees were split between the employe and the service.

The case against the Stables developed on Feb. 9 when Miguel Rodriquez, a Stables employe, was arrested in Arlington on charges of agreeing to perform sexual acts with an undercover county police officer. Based on information developed from that arrest, the D.C. police obtained a search warrant at the request of Arlington police and raided the Stables office -- where DuFresne lived -- on May 25. The police seized records, a telephone log and scratch pads with telephone numbers written on them.

Indicted along with DuFresne and Bryan were Robert Kohler, Ray Jones and Alfredo Martin. Cayer said charges against Kohler, who did bookkeeping work for the Stables, were dropped in return for testimony for the prosecution. Jones is expected to go to trial on Sept. 23 and Martin's case is scheduled for Sept. 30.

Richard Kind, owner of Friendly Models, was indicted in Arlington on prostitution-related charges after D.C. police raided his Georgetown establishment at the request of Arlington officers. Kind has failed to appear in court and is now being sought as a fugitive.

Last month, Arlington police issued a fugitive warrant against David Nolan, who, Montgomery County police said, was then involved with a Silver Spring-based escort service known as A Touch of Class. Nolan was arrested by Montgomery police Aug. 9 and extradicted to Arlington where he was released on bond, pending a trial next month. Prostitution charges against Nolan have since been brought in Montgomery, Liston said.