Newburgh, NY

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

Newburgh is a city of approximately 29,000 residents, located 60 miles north of New York City, near Poughkeepsie in Orange County, New York. Street prostitution and sex trafficking have posed significant problems for the city for at least four decades. Among the more serious problems resulting from the local sex trade has been the murder of a prostituted woman, child sex trafficking, and the production of child-sexual abuse materials (CSAM), including the rape of a trafficked child captured on video. For example, in April, 2013, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced the arrests of 13 individuals for their alleged roles in a sex trafficking and prostitution network. In connection with the arrests, HSI executed search warrants on six locations, including four brothels in Yonkers, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and Queens. The sex trafficking conspiracy exploited dozens of women, some of whom were trafficked from Mexico to New York and forced to engage in prostitution. Thirteen defendants were charged in a criminal complaint with: sex trafficking; interstate transportation for prostitution; use of interstate facilities to promote a prostitution enterprise; obstruction of justice; possession of child pornography; and illegal reentry. One member of the prostitution-sex trafficking enterprise was also charged with possession of child pornography, which he caused to be produced by a 14-year-old girl whom he had sexually abused. In September 2017, a Poughkeepsie man was arrested and held on rape charges after a juvenile told Poughkeepsie Police she had been the victim of a sexual assault and possible sex trafficking. The juvenile had turned herself into the City of Poughkeepsie Police as having run away from a juvenile facility in Hawthrone about three months previously, and while being interviewed, the girl told officers about the assault and sex trafficking. In May 2019, a local woman and her boyfriend were sentenced to years in prison for the rape and sex trafficking of a teenage girl they also captured on video, according to a release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, which constituted the production of CSAM.

To address such issues and the wide range of crimes accompanying prostitution, the City of Newburgh Police Department began conducting frequent anti-prostitution stings in the mid-1970s. Early stings often employed both male and female undercover officers, who worked in tandem as decoy sex buyers and prostituted women. As individuals approached the decoys and offered to buy or engage in commercial sex to/from the officers, they were arrested by police.

Anti-prostitution operations have continued to occur on a routine basis. For example, in June 2018, the City of Newburgh Police Department conducted a sting that resulted in the arrest of four women for prostitution and three men for patronizing a prostitute. They were assisted in this operation by the Orange County Drug Task Force and New York State Police. Names, ages, and addresses of the arrestees were disclosed to the public. In December 2018, four men were arrested during a prostitution sting conducted in response to complaints from residents of prostitution taking place throughout the area. The operation was conducted by officers with the City of Newburgh Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Task Force. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were publicly disclosed.

Since at least May 1981, Newburgh Police have publicly disclosed sex buyer identities. In an article posted in the Newburgh Evening News, members of media supported this decision, noting that, “For too long, only women were identified in prostitution arrests while men accused in these cases remained anonymous.”

Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the city. For example, in May 2013, the Newburgh City Manager resigned in response to pressure arising from a prostitution scandal. The City Council had convened an emergency meeting and voted unanimously to install the Chief of Police as interim city manager while they made plans for a permanent replacement. The sex buyer’s resignation stemmed from events following an October 2012 vehicle stop. Police pulled him over and recognized his passenger as a woman whom they’d arrested the month before in a prostitution sting. The two weren’t charged, and the man later claimed he was just trying to help the woman get treatment for a heroin addiction. He offered his resignation at the time but quickly changed his mind, delivering a defense at a council meeting in 2012. The controversy resurfaced during a council meeting in 2013 when a local activist said he’d spoken to people who confirmed the city manager’s involvement with prostituted women in the city and raised the possibility that tapes and pictures would become public. The local Chief of Police said he had questioned the man that week and the city manager admitted he’d had a relationship with the prostituted woman, and the woman confirmed the allegations. The man had been Newburgh’s city manager after retiring as Croton-on-Hudson’s village manager. After resigning, the man would receive no further benefits or pension from the city.

In 2004, the city started a “john school” education program for sex buyers. Attendance was mandatory for all arrestees charged with patronizing a prostituted woman.

Key Partners

  • City of Newburgh Police Department
  • Orange County District Attorney’s Office
  • Orange County Drug Task Force
  • Newburgh City Council
  • New York State Police
    • Troop F, Community Narcotics Enforcement Team

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Allegations:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Local Prostitution, Drugs, Related Violence:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State New York
Type City
Population 28834
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