Transsexual worked as a prostitute to pay for sex op
A TRANSSEXUAL worked as a prostitute and part-time hairdresser to raise money for a gender change operation.
Raul Alvarado (40), a Venezuelan native who has a Spanish passport, was handed a three-month suspended prison sentence yesterday.
Alvarado was also fined €500 after being convicted by Cork District Court in relation to a garda raid on a brothel last year.
The court heard that when gardai raided the premises on Great William O'Brien Street in Blackpool, Cork city, Alvarado answered the door dressed in lingerie.
When interviewed later by gardai, Alvarado told them: "I still have a penis and boobies -- I am saving money for my operation."
Gardai found €13,000 and St£700 (€846) in cash after searching the brothel.
They also found bedrooms with the windows blackened or darkened, red light bulbs, clothing which included lingerie and mock uniforms, a collection of condoms and a range of sex toys.
The garda search on August 12 followed a tip-off that the premises was being used for prostitution.
Alvarado had denied a charge of being party to the use of the premises as a brothel.
But finding the accused guilty of the charge, Judge Con O'Leary said: "As far as I am concerned a house where sexual services are provided for cash or material considerations is a brothel."
When gardai questioned Alvarado about his gender, he explained that he was saving money for a sex-change operation.
Det Garda Jim O'Reilly said that during one interview, the accused explained he was listed on an internet site as 'Lena' -- and that he had worked previously in Galway, Tralee, Limerick and Waterford.
However, he moved to Cork last year because he had heard it "was a good place to work".
Gardai were told that a range of different sex services were available for male clients -- and these ranged in price from €150 to €250.
Alvarado told gardai that he could have up to four clients daily and was usually contacted by phone for appointments.
Judge O'Leary said he was satisfied that the accused was "not taking a managerial role" in the operation of the premises.
The court heard that when working, Alvarado paid €350 per week to rent one room in the house.
Alvarado -- who is now living in Limerick -- told gardai he was aware prostitution was illegal in Ireland. "Yes, I am sorry," he said.
Gardai had previously warned the defendant about working at the Blackpool premises.
But two weeks later they were aware that the brothel was still operating and that the defendant was present inside.
Judge O'Leary directed gardai to return a confiscated Spanish passport and driving license to Alvarado.
He also granted free legal aid, despite garda objections, saying he had to take Alvarado at his word that he was an unemployed hairdresser.
Gardai told the court that Alvarado does not have a bank account in Ireland -- but has a bank account in Spain, which gardai have been unable to obtain details about.
The judge declined to make a confiscation order in relation to the cash seized during the raid. Alvarado insisted a substantial portion of this money was saved by him from his hairdressing work.
Judge O'Leary said the money could now be pursued by the defendant via the Police Property Act.
He bound the defendant to the peace for 12 months and set recognisance, in case of an appeal, in his own bond of €1,000.