WOMAN ON `CRUSH' VIDEO SAYS SHE NEEDED THE CASH.
Her pedicured feet played a starring role in video sequences that zoom in as a mouse with its tail taped down is stomped to death.
Even veteran judges and police officers have been repulsed by the ``crush'' video.
But Aileen Chaffin of Valinda says she has loved animals all her life and agreed to appear in the film only because she needed cash.
``Let's get this straight, I'm not a porn star,'' said Chaffin, who pleaded no contest Nov. 8 to three felony counts of animal cruelty. ``It was a lack of judgment and I was swayed into it.''
The 35-year-old Chaffin, now on probation for three years, was interviewed for the first time last week at the Pomona office of her attorney, Antonio J. Bestard.
Dressed in a pinstriped suit, Chaffin said her second marriage was on the rocks and she had to find a way to pay her bills. So she turned to crush videos and agreed to tape one, allegedly with photographer Gary Lynn Thomason.
``I've loved animals all my life,'' Chaffin said. ``But I was also at a low ebb in my life.''
She said she was raised in a middle-class Rowland Heights home by a father who taught school and a mother who was a nurse. The family regularly worshiped at a Lutheran church.
Chaffin said she hated every minute of making the crush video shot at her parents' home in May while they were on vacation. Despite her comments on tape suggesting she enjoyed the feel of stomping one mouse while barefoot, she said she forced herself to endure it.
Chaffin's statements of remorse are a far cry from what Long Beach police heard when they first watched her videotape, ``The Tails of Charlie's Ankles,'' after seizing it from Thomason's Anaheim home this summer.
``You're a goner, baby,'' the husky-voiced Chaffin told a mouse whose tail was taped to a concrete walkway before she drove her heel into its mid-section. ``Another one bites the dust.''
She said she made her first contacts with the crush-video scene through the Internet on a friend's computer and others at the La Habra branch of the Orange County Public Library.
Chaffin's online chats with men with foot fetishes in March eventually got her introduced to Thomason, she said.
Chaffin said Thomason promised her they'd split the $80 profit he expected from each video sale. But she said she never was paid because Thomason told her none of the videos sold.
Thomason's lawyer, Arthur P. Lindars, said Friday that Thomason told Chaffin the truth.
Uncertain whether part of the videos' appeal is sexual gratification, Chaffin acknowledged she deliberately dressed in short pants for the taping. But she said it also was a warm day.
Long Beach police Detective Mark Bigel said he and other vice squad detectives don't know the names of the dozen or so women appearing in four bags of other crush videos they seized. The videos show the women from the waist down.
``The only thing different about this Chaffin woman is that she basically got on and introduced herself as the tape started,'' Bigel said.
Bigel doesn't believe Chaffin or any of the others making such videos are rolling in cash.
``I think the motivation in their minds is that they are going to be making money, but I also think the directors just get (sexually satisfied) watching this,'' Bigel said. ``And it doesn't take a Scorcese-type to direct them.''
Thomason, free on $30,000 bail, awaits trial on the same three charges and faces up to four years in prison if convicted, Deputy District Attorney Manuel Garcia said.
As for Chaffin, she has reconciled with her husband, James. She said she wants to become a teacher if her felony record doesn't stop a school district from hiring her. She said she will move away from Southern California once her probation is over.
Chaffin said she has learned from her mistakes and will join those who favor more limits on animal abuse.
``If anything good has come from this, there is now a new law and I hope there will be even more legislation to protect animals,'' she said.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Nov 28, 1999|
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