Scranton, Pa

Beaver County School Board Member and Coach Arrested for Seeking to Buy Sex

Posted: December 29, 2016

According to WPXI news and court documents, Joseph Long, a youth football coach and former Rochester Area School Board member, was arrested in late November for attempting to buy sex. Long allegedly sent a text message to a woman arranging to meet at a local hotel and purchase sex. When Long arrived at the agreed-upon hotel, police took him into custody.

Long was charged under two sections of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code – 18 Pa. C.S.A. 5902(e) and 18 Pa. C.S.A. 901(a). 18 Pa. C.S.A. 5902(e), Pennsylvania’s statute for patronizing a prostitute states, “a person commits the offense of patronizing prostitutes if that person hires a prostitute or any other person to engage in sexual activity with him or her or if that person enters or remains in a house of prostitution for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.” 18 Pa. C.S.A. 901(a) is the Pennsylvania statute that criminalizes attempts to commit a crime, and it is relevant here since Long did not complete the crime of buying sex.

Long is scheduled for trial in January, and whether he is guilty has yet to be determined. However, this case raises two points for discussion; first, the efforts of law enforcement and district attorneys’ to arrest and prosecute sex buyers can and will reduce the prevalence of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, and second, this case clearly illustrates that anyone in the community is capable of buying sex, and thus, capable of furthering sexual exploitation.

Serious efforts to find and prosecute sex buyers sends an explicit message that buying sex is not acceptable, and that there are criminal consequences if one is caught. If sex buyers understand that even on their first attempt to purchase sex that they will be arrested, prosecuted, fined, and possibly face jail time, then demand will decrease. With the decline in demand, subsequently the supply of prostitution through sex trafficking and exploitation will decrease as well.

Further, we must be mindful that the most ordinary people in our communities are capable of buying sex. Again, Long was a youth football coach and member of the school board. The Rochester Area School District superintendent was quick to denounce Long’s behavior saying that the charges, “are very embarrassing and not a reflection of the morals and values we strive to exhibit and teach our children.” Long has since resigned from his position following the allegations.

The message from school boards, law enforcement and District Attorneys’ offices, like those in Beaver County, that buying sex seriously undermines the value of our communities and has punitive consequences is one that needs to be sent. Sending a clear message of zero tolerance will help advance the work against sex trafficking. The CSE Institute applauds the steps that law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office in Beaver County have taken to end demand for sex in their community. We also applaud the Rochester Area School District for coming out strongly against this behavior. Finally, it is our hope that people, even former buyers like Long, learn from this experience, and join the fight against sexual exploitation.

Category: News

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