Cambria County, PA
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Cambria County is a county of approximately 134,000 residents in southwestern Pennsylvania. Its county seat is Ebensburg, PA. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity has been well-documented in the county. This activity and its ancillary crimes have resulted in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and business. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market are child sex trafficking and violence against individuals engaging in commercial sex. For example, in April, 2016, a Cambria County woman was charged with prostitution, as well as corruption of minors. According to a criminal complaint, she was accused of meeting men on a social media website and “inviting them to her house for sex” and robbing the male sex buyers. A juvenile male, later identified as the woman’s boyfriend, would hide in another room when the male sex buyers entered the house. He would wait two minutes before entering the bedroom and then would pull out a handgun in attempts to frighten the men and leave the money they had originally brought to exchange for sex acts. According to the juvenile, a total of four separate incidents occurred. Authorities said a 2-year-old also was in the house at the time. The woman was detained in the Cambria County Prison. In October, 2022, a Stonycreek Township man was arrested for sex trafficking women from his residence. Law enforcement had investigated the man’s activities after a woman overdosed at his residence and later died. His residence was next door to the Stonycreek Township Police Department at the time of his arrest. Police said they determined the man was renting out his residence and several women there would perform numerous sex acts with other men. Those men would pay the trafficker in drugs, cash or both for the sexual acts.
In effort to combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the city, tactics focused on reducing the demand for commercial sex have been implemented within the county. Sex buyers and sex traffickers have been apprehended by local law enforcement as a result of alternative investigations and residential reports to police. For example, in June 2022, police arrested a 59-year-old Portage man for sexually assaulting a teen girl in exchange for nicotine vape cartridges. According to state police, the offender was arrested for promoting prostitution of a minor, indecent assault of a person less than 16, indecent exposure and selling tobacco. Troopers say they were contacted by the victim’s grandmother. The grandmother reportedly told investigators that that “her 15-year-old granddaughter has been sexually assaulted by Myers, who’s a family friend, in exchange for “JUUL vape pods.” Troopers said that two other juveniles witnessed the incident. The witnesses were interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center. According to state police, the juveniles said the offender came to their Cassandra Borough home at which point the alleged victim got into his truck for an extended period of time. The victim told troopers that the offender “had asked her if she wanted ‘nicotine stuff.'” She said the man then came to her house and when she entered his truck, “he gave her the JUUL pods in exchange for him sexually assaulting her.” Troopers say the victim added that the man had asked her to “flash” him multiple times over the past year and had place her hand on his genitals on one occasion. State police say they interviewed the offender who denied all of the allegations, even being at the victim’s house. However, the offender ultimately confessed to police and admitted to all of the allegations against him, “except the ‘sexual stuff.'” The sexual abuser was arrested and transported to the Cambria County Prison. His identity and image were included in reports by local media outlets.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://wjactv.com/portage-man-accused-of-sexually-assaulting-teen-in-exchange-for-juul-pods-psp-say (2022)
- https://local21news.com/portage-man-accused-of-sexually-assaulting-teen-in-exchange-for-juul-pods-psp-say (2022)
Background on Local Sex Trafficking and Prostitution:
- https://archive.triblive.com/police-man-ran-johnstown-prostitution-ring-paid-women-in-heroin/ (2016)
- https://fox56.com/pa-man-found-guilty-of-running-hotel-prostitution-ring (2017)
- https://wjactv.com/cambria-county-woman-charged-with-prostitution-corruption-of-minors (2022)
- https://www.tribdem.com/stonycreek-township-man-to-face-trial-in-trafficking-case (2022)
Background on Prostitution Related Violence:
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