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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, July 23, 1864


Yesterday, in the Police Court, George Lambertson and Ralph Doyle, one a full-grown man and the other a boy of fourteen, pleaded guilty to the charge of exhibiting obscene pictures. Officers Lees, Evrard and Rose, some time since, got on the track of a regular system of prostituting young girls, which was being carried on by a number of men and boys who had banded themselves together for the purpose, and their efforts have resulted in the arrest of the two persons above named, and the unearthing of two more of the boys and two or three men, who are probably all captured by this time. The name of one of the men is Emile Buffandeau; two of the boys are Harry Fenton and George Ayres. The men made use of the boys to decoy the girls to their rooms, where their ruin was effected. These rooms were well stocked with obscene books and pictures. The officers say that the further they probe the matter the more astounding are the developments, and the more wide spread the operations of this infamous association are discovered to be. The names of some fifteen of these debauched girls have already been ascertained, and others are suspected of properly belonging on the list. Some of them are members of families of high respectability, and the balance, as young Doyle phrases it, are "baldheaded," that is, unbonneted street girls. The ages of the lot vary from ten or twelve to fifteen. Ralph Doyle says that he and the other two boys, Ayres and Fenton, were "confidants," but that he knows of no "gang," nor confederation of men and boys together, in the wretched business. He is aware, however, that a large number of men and boys and young girls are in the habit of visiting each other's rooms, but on their own individual responsibility only, he thinks. He says the girls showed him the obscene pictures, instead of his being guilty of that sort of conduct with them, and he is further of the opinion that they have done the seducing in most of the other cases, as they did in his. He is a fine, handsome, manly little fellow, uses excellent language, and his bearing is quiet and perfectly well-bred. He tells his story the same way every time, and we believe he tells the truth. All his revelations, however, will not do to print. The boys concerned in this extraordinary affair will be sent to the Industrial School, as they are all very young, and it is to be hoped that the law will be stretched to its utmost tension for the punishment of the men. . . . Since the above was in type, we have learned that the terrible developments detailed above, were brought to light through the energy and industry of the master of one of the Schools. He had ascertained the names and addresses of a great number of men and boys not mentioned in this article, who were implicated in these villanous transactions, and was in a fair way of securing their apprehension, but the premature disclosure of the facts and their publication in the evening papers, it is feared, will put the scoundrels on their guard, and prevent their capture. Furthermore, according to our latest information, there are thirty names of debauched young girls on the list. The man Lambertson, by whom a poor orphan girl of fifteen has become enceinte, has made over to her, in the hope of escaping the penitentiary, such property as he owned in the city. We are also very glad to learn, from the best authority, that Ralph Doyle, so far from being a leader among the miscreants, as has been said of him, was the most innocent in the party, and that it is not in his nature to do an unworthy action when left to the guidance of his own good instincts.

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