Bradford County, PA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Bradford County is a county of approximately 60,000 residents located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Its county seat is Towanda, PA. Instances of prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the county. Due to a boom in oil and gas drilling in the area, the county has reportedly experienced a sharp increase in drunken driving, bar fights, and commercial sex activity, that residents and law enforcement largely attribute to the influx of men with extra of money in their pockets and minimal activities to do after work. The county has also faced issues with illicit massage businesses (IMBs) serving as fronts for prostitution. For example, in 2008, two prostituted women were arrested at a local IMB after they allegedly attempted to solicit undercover officers for sex. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.

Efforts to combat the recent growth in commercial sex activity in the county have included tactics focused on reducing demand for prostitution and sex trafficking by focusing on apprehending sex buyers rather than prostituted persons. Loss of employment and identity disclosure are consequences of buying sex that have occurred in the county. For example, in 2012, a 51-year-old elected Pennsylvania state constable was arrested after allegedly soliciting a female prisoner for sex in exchange for money while he was transporting her to the Bradford County Correctional Facility, according to Pennsylvania State Police. He was officially arrested and charged with prostitution – a third-degree felony and official oppression – a second degree misdemeanor. The constable was found in violation of constable law in Pennsylvania, Title 44 of Pennsylvania Statutes, chapter 71, and was fired from his position as a result.

In 2021, the Bradford County District Attorney was charged for sexually assaulting his female clients while he worked as a defense attorney. Attorney General Josh Shapiro, in conjunction with the 45th Statewide Investigative Grand Jury, announced charges against the DA in question for allegations of sexual assault, intimidation, prostitution, and obstruction of justice, among others,

“[The DA in question] would regularly use his position and power as an attorney to coerce his victims into performing sexual acts on him. He would bring them into his private office, under the guise of discussing their case, and used his knowledge of his clients’ vulnerabilities to negate their consent and sexually assault them.”

According to victim testimonies presented to the Grand Jury, the DA in question repeatedly “leveraged his power over his victims, who he counseled in criminal and child custody cases, by taking advantage of their vulnerabilities, exploiting them, and then forcing them into submission and silence.” One victim who sought his help in a child custody case was pressured into engaging in sexual acts in exchange for his legal services. When testifying before the Grand Jury, she said that there was nothing more important to her than securing the custody of her children. The victim testified that the offender initially touched her without her consent, but following the unwanted sexual encounter, she gave in to his advances. The DA in question then began sexually abusing her in exchange for the fees for the legal services related to her child custody case.

In May 2021, the offender pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution, obstruction of law, and witness intimidation. In August 2021, he was disbarred by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The plea agreement reached between the former DA and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office also required him to resign from his elected position, according to officials. He was admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in October 2001.

In the third annual “Report on Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Pennsylvania” (2018) by Villanova University’s Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE Institute), Bradford County was one of 10 Pennsylvania counties in which the number of individuals charged with violations of the state’s sex buying statute (§ 5902(e)) outnumbered the charged with violations of § 5902(a) for providing commercial sex since the state criminal code created separate offenses for buying and selling sex in 2014. The 10 counties were: Adams, Beaver, Bradford, Centre, Franklin, Lebanon, McKean, Mercer, Monroe, and Northampton.

Key Sources

Employment Loss, Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State Pennsylvania
Type County
Population 60721
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