Saturday, June 15, 2013 | 5:40 p.m.
- Gordie Brown, with Sunset Thomas
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There are few “firsts” left in the world’s oldest profession, but never before has Sunset Thomas experienced this:
She is being sued for not having sex.
Thomas is one of the world’s most famous prostitutes, as a onetime cast member of the HBO series “Cathouse,” the documentary series filmed at Moonlight Bunny Ranch near Carson City. Thomas has also been a popular figure at the annual AVN/AEE convention in Las Vegas and a famous porn star who was featured in at least 250 adult movies before entering into retirement from film work about five years ago.
But Thomas, a Las Vegas resident, continues to provide services at the Chicken Ranch in Pahrump, where she signed on as the star among working girls at the ranch in the fall of 2011. The brothel sits about 45 miles west of Las Vegas in Nye County, where prostitution is legal.
For the 41-year-old Thomas, business at the brothel was brisk and bump-free until last month. On May 31, a frequent client of Thomas’ filed a small-claims complaint in Las Vegas Township Justice Court seeking to recoup $2,200 for services he alleges were not rendered at the Chicken Ranch.
Court documents identify the plaintiff as Robert J. Proffitt of Las Vegas, who claims that Thomas refused him sexual intercourse on two occasions, which the complaint argues is a breach of a verbal contract between the two that amounted in $2,200 in financial losses for Proffitt.
Thomas and her husband/agent, Kent Wallace, are to make an appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court on Monday morning to answer the complaint. Thomas’ name is also listed as “Diane Fowler,” which is her given name, and “Diane Hof,” which is the name she legally adopted while she was the girlfriend of Moonlight Bunny Ranch owner Dennis Hof during the “Cathouse” series.
In the court filing, Proffitt says Thomas twice refused agreed-upon sexual services during his visits to the Ranch, alleging that Thomas had been drinking on both occasions. According to Proffitt’s written account, the first alleged rejection was because Thomas “got physical and upset at me for not wanting to enter into a threesome with her friend.”
The second rejection was allegedly because Proffitt had told Thomas he was tired of hearing about how much Thomas cared about him, and “wanted to tell me that she loved me but she couldn’t because of her job.” He claims Thomas then refused to have sex with him.
Three weeks before the filing of the complaint, a certified letter dated May 10 was delivered to Thomas and Wallace, bearing the signature of Robert J. Proffitt, outlining the demand for payment of the $2,200. The dates specified are April 19 and May 8. The money Proffitt claims to have paid was $1,200 for the April incident and $1,000 in May.
Thomas uniformly denies all of the charges in the complaint, saying during a phone conversation today: “This is the craziest thing ever. … I have never refused sex with my clients. Never, ever. That’s not me. Never.”
Efforts to reach Proffitt on Saturday through the phone number listed as his on the certified letter were unsuccessful.
This afternoon, Judy Neal, manager of the Chicken Ranch, described Proffitt as “very unique” and someone who had become “obsessed” with Thomas.
Thomas estimates she has “seen” Proffitt at the Chicken Ranch 18 or 19 times, meaning that the financial outlay in his visits to Thomas approached $20,000. She describes him as a lovelorn client who simply got too close after making multiple visits to her at the brothel.
“It got to be nerve-wracking,” she said. “I got to be scared, afraid, like I was being stalked.”
Wallace added, “The point of what Sunset does is to create an illusion of intimacy. It’s not just wham-bam, thank ya, Ma’am. But this person took it way too far. He proposed marriage and bought her gifts like an iPod and iPad. He spent thousands of dollars on her.”
Thomas and Wallace also furnished a series of nearly 70 text messages from a person they identified as Proffitt. The string of missives covers several days in late May and early June. Taken at face value, the messages indicate a one-sided correspondence from a person whose frustration was mounting for lack of response. One reads: “You can’t love someone who’s (sic) love is for sale!” Another: “U r going to miss me and its (sic) all your fault.” And, “I will be the poor victim of a whore … let’s see who wins.”
Several messages indicate the author is positioned at the residence of Thomas and Wallace, and many threaten the sort of legal action enacted on May 31. Asked why she would share her personal phone number with any customer, Thomas says she does occasionally engage in correspondence with her “guys” so she can coordinate visits to the ranch.
In late May, Thomas was separated from her phone for two days while working a party at the ranch, which is the point where she says the relationship between her and Proffitt became disconcerting. She says she is still working select dates at the Chicken Ranch, and has never even had a complaint in her years in the business, let alone be taken to court.
“I love my life and my husband,” she said. “If someone wants to see me 18 or 19 times, that’s fine. But you have to know when to lay off and not be so strong. I have a personal life, too, and I have to keep them separate.”