|IT Based Tactics
McKean County is a rural county in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, with approximately 40,000 residents. Its county seat is Smethport, PA. Instances of prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and its ancillary crimes have resulted in complaints to local law enforcement by residents and businesses. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.
In an effort to combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the county, tactics focused on reducing demand for commercial sex have been used, such as arresting sex buyers and sex traffickers as a result of alternative investigations and residential complaints to local law enforcement. For example, in March 2014, a 50-year-old Tiona man was arrested and charged with two counts of promoting prostitution by encouraging someone to become a prostitute and one count of criminal use of a communication facility, all third-degree felonies; and three counts of patronizing prostitutes, all third-degree misdemeanors. According to court records, a mutual friend introduced the offender to a female, who the sex buyer then attempted to solicit for sex. He allegedly offered the female between $200 and $350 for engaging in commercial sex with him. The woman engaged in commercial sex with the sex buyer four times between August 2013 and March 11, 2014, including three times in McKean County and once in New York state. Keating Township is listed as the location of the alleged incidents in McKean County. The meetings were allegedly set up by cell phone calls and text messages, and the female was paid $250 on two occasions and $300 on two occasions in exchange for sex. According to court records, the sex buyer also told the woman that “she’d be compensated if she had sex with two of his friends.” A second female, who was also introduced to the sex buyer through a mutual friend, was allegedly offered $20 in exchange for naked photographs. According to court records, in early March 2014, the sex buyer sent the second female a text message asking her to send a naked photo to one of his friends in exchange for money. He indicated “that he wanted to hook her up with two of his friends,” and he offered to pay her up to $100 for pictures of other girls, court records read. His identity was included in reports by local media outlets.
In July 2018, a 25-year-old Bradford man was arrested for soliciting sex acts from two underage females. He was arraigned in McKean County Court. Though one of the two criminal cases against the offender was withdrawn, the charges still stood. He was charged with two counts of promoting the prostitution of a minor and unlawful contact with a minor, all third-degree felonies, and two counts of corruption of minors, both first-degree misdemeanors.
In the third annual Report on Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Pennsylvania by Villanova University’s Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE Institute), McKean 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 sex buyers and prostituted persons in 2014. The ten counties were: Adams, Beaver, Bradford, Centre, Franklin, Lebanon, McKean, Mercer, Monroe, and Northampton.
In the Spring of 2016, another report was released by the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Pennsylvania at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. The report presented county-level data on arrests for purchasing sex in Pennsylvania during the calendar years 2014-2015. The report’s data comes from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, and during 2014-2015 there were three arrests in McKean County that were charged under the statute for purchasing sex (18 Pa.C.S. § 5902(e)). There were no arrests of prostituted persons that year in the county. It is important to note that there may have been larger numbers of sex buyer arrests since some cities and counties choose to handle such cases by issuing civil citations for violating local prostitution ordinances, rather than charging with violating state criminal law.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- http://www.bradfordera.com/warren-county-man-charged-with-prostitution (2014)
- http://www.bradfordera.com/charges-against-man-accused-of-soliciting-sex-acts-bound-to (2018)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://books.google.com/McKean County Prostitution History
- http://cseinstitute.org/CSE-Institute-Report-on-CSE-in-Pennsylvania (2016)
- https://www.bradfordera.com/human-trafficking-could-be-in-mckean-county-panelists-say/article (2018)
- https://www.bradfordera.com/reminder-human-trafficking-is-closer-than-we-imagine/article (2022)