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Tiona is an unincorporated community of approximately 250 residents located within Mead Township, in Warren County, Pennsylvania. It is located near Minister Creek and U.S. Route 6, and is about midway between the larger towns of Clarendon and Sheffield. Although prostitution and sex trafficking are not significant issues in the community, reports of their occurrence have been documented in the community and surrounding areas. For example, in 2014, a 50-year-old Tiona man was arrested in Smethport, PA on prostitution allegations. According to court records, the man had sex trafficked two women between August 2013 and August 2014 in McKean County, PA and New York state. The man was 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.” His identity was included in reports by local media outlets.
In effort to combat the commercial sex locally, police have identified and apprehended sex buyers and sex traffickers as a result of alternative investigations and citizen reports to local law enforcement. For example, in June 2021, a Tiona man was arrested who a judge later be convicted and described in court by the judge as a “serial sexual predator of young boys.” He was found guilty at trial on charges of contact/communication with a minor — sexual offenses, two counts of statutory sexual assault and two counts of sexual assault — all felonies — as well as two counts each of misdemeanor corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children. In the affidavit of probable cause, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General said the man :hired the male victim” — then 9 or 10 years old — (amongst others) in 2000 to do some work on the his home. After a month of maintenance work, the offender asked the boy to help him sell novelty items at local flea markets, requiring early morning departures and overnight stays. According to investigators, the victim said he would wake up to find the “man crawling into bed with him”. The man would attempt to reach inside of victim’s clothing and sexually abuse the boy, and when the boy resisted, the man offered him $100, which he would tuck inside of the victim’s clothing. The offender would often supply victim with alcohol and or marijuana before the defendant carried out the acts. In August 2021, the man was convicted of numerous sex offenses and faced decades in state prison. The man had a prior conviction for indecent exposure to a child. The maximum penalty is 80 years and that a middle of the standard range sentence still carries a 12 year minimum. His identity was included in reports by local media outlets.
In 2021, a Warren County judge sentenced the offender to 20 to 40 months in state prison each on charges of contact/communication with a minor – sexual offenses and two counts of statutory sexual assault. That first charge included credit for 115 days time served, $625 in fines and fees, to undergo a mental health evaluation and comply with recommendations, complete sex offender counseling, restitution totaling approximately $2,400, submission of a DNA sample, to have no unsupervised contact with a minor and no contact or communication with the victim in this case. Additionally, the judge sentenced the offender to 60 to 120 months each on two counts of sexual assault and 12 to 24 months each on two counts each of corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children. The total sentence was 228 months – or 19 years – to 456 months – 38 years. In addition, he ruled that the offender register as a lifetime sexual offender in addition to the classification as a sexually violent predator which entails a lifetime registration and monthly counseling obligations.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.timesobserver.com/news/local-news/2021/08/man-convicted-of-sex-crimes-to-stay-behind-bars-until-sentencing/ (2021)
- https://www.timesobserver.com/news/local-news/2021/06/man-found-guilty-in-split-verdict/ (2021)
- https://www.timesobserver.com/news/local-news/2021/09/tiona-man-to-prison-for-nearly-two-decades-for-sex-assault/ (2021)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: