Storme Watch

An update on a model prisoner.

That spring, Aerison befriended Joshua Hurd, a teenager, on the Internet and offered him a place on the DreamTeam. Two weeks before the crew was to go overseas, Aerison asked Hurd's mother to buy plane tickets and film on her credit card. The woman agreed. Aerison promised to repay the $13,626 in fifteen days, but instead, police say, he wrote a $15,000 check on the closed credit-union account, disregarded a judge's order to stay in Colorado, violated his bond and left for location with Hurd and the rest of his crew.

Michael Bernatchez was a secondary photographer on that trip, hired on the recommendation of a friend who'd traveled with the DreamTeam to Hawaii in 1999. While he was in Tahiti, Bernatchez's sister read a story about Storme Aerison in Westword ("The Broad Was a Fraud," June 8, 2000), and contacted both her brother and the Colorado Springs police.

"After I found out, I looked for definite signs," Bernatchez told Westword last year. "And there weren't a lot of them. What he does with his manhood, I don't know. There was no bulge or anything. She doesn't give a normal person any reason to doubt. She's very discreet. She plays up the Christian angle. She walks around in sweats and T-shirts. She always wore a towel until the actual shot was taken. The makeup was already done. But one thing I did see is that she had an uplifter. With a little photography and a computer, you can enhance it and make the appearance of a B cup. Other than that, I never knew."

Storme Aerison posing for professional photographers.
Storme Aerison posing for professional photographers.
Aerison as a cheerleader in Colorado Springs.
Aerison as a cheerleader in Colorado Springs.

Bernatchez returned to Colorado, minus the $1,100 he'd lent Aerison. When the rest of the crew arrived back home, Aerison was arrested for violating bail. During the booking, Amundson says, a female deputy began to pat Aerison down, but the detective waved her off.

"That's not a female you're doing," Amundson said. "That's a male."

Then Aerison spoke up: "It's okay. I have both sexes."

In September 2000, authorities charged Aerison with stealing $13,600 from the Hurds and writing a hot check for $15,000. That same month, Amundson added another charge of credit-card fraud to Aerison's growing file. Between February and November 1999, Aerison had opened two American Express cards in another man's name and charged $53,752. Aerison said the man, William Boyd, had sponsored the swimsuit calendar, but Boyd told police he never gave Aerison permission to open the accounts.

With the charges mounting, Aerison again skipped town, this time missing a February 12, 2001, hearing in Colorado Springs and traveling from Alaska to Florida with a longtime friend. Dennis Blackwell, a Colorado Springs bail bondsman who stood to lose $155,000, traced the fugitive to Daytona Beach. After flashing a photo of Aerison at a 7-Eleven, Blackwell and Daytona Beach police found Aerison hiding under a pile of clothes in a bedroom closet, sporting a five o'clock shadow and a T-shirt "with little hearts on it."

After the March 21 arrest, Aerison tried to contest Colorado warrants that listed him as a white female. He was a black man, Aerison told a Florida judge, but he was extradited anyway and placed in the men's section of the El Paso County jail.

And there he remains in protective custody, awaiting trial. "Our case is solid," Amundson says.

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