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Mercer County is a county of approximately 111,000 residents located in western Pennsylvania on the border with Ohio, about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh. The county seat is Mercer, and its largest city is Hermitage. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the county, including an incident in which a Farrell police officer was caught buying sex while on duty.
Employment loss as a consequence of being caught buying sex has been used in the county. In November 2021, a Greenville man was arrested by East Palestine, Ohio police and agents with the Mahoning County Human Trafficking Task Force. The man faced criminal charges after he answered an online ad to meet a woman for paid sex. He allegedly arranged to meet the woman for sex in exchange for $300. He reportedly said he was “into Beastiality” and requested the woman find a dog to join them, stating he was interested in having sex with the woman after the dog had sex with her. He also allegedly had no objections to the woman getting high on narcotics during the sexual encounter. He was charged with engaging in prostitution and possessing criminal tools. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office had appointed the man as the coordinator of the Mercer County Drug Task Force. He was also the fire chief for West Salem Township. County officials quickly removed him from his position with the drug task force. In June 2022, the man was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 120 of those days suspended, was fined $800, was ordered to complete a 12-hour prostitution reduction course (john school), and was ordered to perform 40 hours of community service, but was allowed to buy those hours out.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
- Mercer County Drug Task Force
Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.wkbn.com/mercer-co-drug-task-force-coordinator-arrested-in-sex-sting (2021)
- https://www.morningjournalnews.com/head-of-mercer-county-dtf-arrested-in-sex-sting (2021)
- https://www.wkbn.com/former-mercer-county-drug-task-force-official-sentenced-after-prostitution-sting (2022)
- https://www.morningjournalnews.com/former-mercer-county-dtf-director-pleads-to-sex-charges (2022)
- https://www.meadvilletribune.com/former-mercer-county-drug-task-force-chief-sentenced (2022)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- https://cseinstitute.org/duty-mercer-county-police-officer-accused-buying-sex (2017)
- https://www.sharonherald.com/man-charged-with-running-prostitution-ring-is-out-on-bail (2021)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area: