Tuesday, the Broward Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of Oneal Morris, 32, who made national headlines last year in Miami-Dade County after being charged with injecting people in the butt with the near-lethal concoctions.
Photographer: Miami Gardens Police
MIAMI, Fla. - He knew what he was doing. Corey Eubanks admits that much.
When he climbed onto a massage table 12 years ago so the person he knew as "Duchess" could inject mineral oil into his buttocks, Eubanks knew he was not being treated by a real doctor.
And he believes the same is true of all the men and women who came to Duchess looking for rounder, fuller, curvier figures.
"Nobody should blame Duchess for what I put in my butt," said Eubanks, 40.
Duchess, better known as Oneal Ron Morris, was charged last month with posing as a doctor while injecting a toxic mixture of mineral oil, Fix-a-Flat tire sealant, cement and super glue into at least two customers. Eubanks, who introduced one reported victim to Morris and allowed them to meet in his home, has been charged as an accomplice.
Experts say people resort to illegal "pumping parties," where customers outside a hospital or clinical setting are injected with anything from Botox to industrial-grade silicone, out of convenience or because they lack insurance or access to health care and legitimate plastic surgery.
The issue is more prevalent in the transsexual community, where men seeking feminine figures see cosmetic surgery as a necessity, not an optional or elective procedure. Those patients, who may already feel marginalized by society, typically do not know there is anything unsafe about the injections.
Even those with health insurance often find it excludes transition-related care — including procedures aimed at making a man look more like a woman, a look transsexuals need to blend in with the rest of society.
"It's not a vanity issue," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. "It's a survival issue. They need to look good to get jobs. … In the 'privileged' world, this kind of procedure doesn't make sense. But for the most part, we are not dealing with the privileged."
Pumping parties are an underground activity, with no one keeping track of how many are taking place across the country. Just last week, a North Carolina stripper filed a criminal complaint against a phony doctor who disfigured her backside by injecting her with an unknown liquid or gel.
Former Broward prosecutor Howard Scheinberg, who won manslaughter convictions against a South Carolina couple whose procedure ended with the death of a woman in Miramar in 2001, said he still gets at least two calls a year from doctors and lawyers across the country asking him about the practice.
"The people who do this are desperate to change their bodies," he said. "They think they're getting the same procedure that would be more costly if it was performed in a legitimate setting."
Rajee Narinesingh, who was born a man and lives as a woman, said she went to Morris in 2007 for injections to her face, chest, hips and buttocks. She was pleased with the results at first, but eventually the injections left her with a distorted face.
"The whole time, I was with the understanding that it was medical silicone, made to be in the body," she said. "In retrospect, I know I could have died. Oh my God, what was I thinking?"
Narinesingh revealed herself as a customer after Morris' arrest, but was not the person who instigated the Miami Gardens police investigation.
Eubanks disputed accounts like Narinesingh's, arguing that customers in pumping parties are neither ignorant nor desperate.
"They are lying to get Duchess in bigger trouble," Eubanks said. "Anyone who goes into an apartment or a motel room to get their butt done knows that they're not being treated by a doctor."
Eubanks, who is gay and not transsexual, said pumping parties are convenient and produce results that are faster and more natural than traditional plastic surgery. He said Morris, whose unusually large hips and bottom have drawn national attention and ridicule to the story, once had the appearance of a beautiful woman.
"She was a brick house at one point," he said. "It was her decision to keep going, and she went too far."
But Eubanks vehemently denied that Morris would use bizarre substances like cement and Fix-a-Flat on customers. Eubanks' lawyer, Jim Lewis, said his client never benefited financially from Morris' practice and was not home when Morris met with the victim.
Morris' lawyer, Mike Mirer, also denied reports about the contents of the toxic concoction.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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