Watsontown, PA

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

Watsontown is a borough of roughly 2,300 residents in central Pennsylvania, located in Northumberland County, PA. Instances of prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the borough and throughout the county. This activity and its ancillary crimes has resulted in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. Amongst the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking of adults and minors. For example, in 2019, the Watsontown Police Department arrested a 76-year-old Pennsdale man on one felony count of promoting prostitution and one misdemeanor count of Harassment. The charges stem from an investigation involving an unidentified person from Watsontown. He was arraigned before District Judge Michael Diehl and released on $20,000 unsecured bail.

In effort to combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the borough, police have been known to arrest sex buyers through alternative investigations and residential reports to local law enforcement. For example, in August 2021, a 52-year-old Milton man was arrested for solicitation of prostitution charges after allegedly arguing on a public street about a $30 disagreement on how much he had agreed to pay a prostituted woman for sex acts. The investigation was initiated by police responding to a domestic violence disturbance call and found the man standing beside his 2005 Jeep Liberty and arguing with a woman in the front passenger seat. According to police reports, the man was noticeably intoxicated. A breath sample test showed that the offender’s blood-alcohol level was .126, which is 1.5 times the legal limit, police said.

The sex buyer allegedly told police that, “the woman was a prostitute he met on a dating site called Tag and he picked up from the Newberry section of Williamsport.” Additionally, he told police they were arguing because they “could not agree on a price for the sexual acts he negotiated with the woman.” The man showed police his cell phone and an exchange of text messages between the two in order “to prove that the woman was there willingly.” Police arrested the male sex buyer on a misdemeanor count of soliciting prostitution and two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of a controlled substance. His identity, age, and hometown were included in reports by local media outlets. The woman was not arrested nor identified in police reports.

State Pennsylvania
Type City
Population 2333
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