On April 20th, Levittown Now reported Sean Patrick Leahy, 26, from Bristol Township, is facing charges for trafficking an individual, involuntary servitude, simple assault, promoting prostitution, and a drug related offense. Leahy was under investigation by the Bensalem Township police after the Special Investigation Unit spoke with a woman last month who reported she met Leahy in October 2020 on Facebook. She told officers that after dating Leahy for a brief period of time, Leahy’s demeanor changed. Leahy allegedly began to sell drugs in front of her and forced her to ingest drugs. Soon thereafter she was completely addicted to drugs.
Knowing that his victim was now addicted to drugs, he allegedly forced her to sell sex in exchange for money and drugs. Leahy would allegedly set up meetings for her with various men. Leahy allegedly claimed he was her security guard to sex buyers and stayed in the room while she was being exploited by other men. Various articles point out that Leahy controlled everything she did and would not allow her to refuse to sell sex. Specifically, one article described that Leahy would physically abuse and assault her if she were to defy any of his demands. The Bensalem police noted that the victim suffered from various bruises on her body and had a cracked tooth.
At the end of October, the victim was able to get in touch with her mother and inform her of the situation. The victim’s mother filed a missing endangered person report with Northampton Township police. After Leahy became aware of the situation, he made the victim inform police she was not in danger. The next two months after this incident, Leahy allegedly continued to force the woman to have sex with various men. Leahy was arrested on April 14th when he was caught transporting methamphetamine to a known drug dealer.
The CSE Institute applauds the work of both the Bensalem and Northampton Township police for taking the steps to stop commercial sexual exploitation by targeting those who fuel the demand for sex, namely sex traffickers and sex buyers. Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of a female victim being sexually exploited by a man she begins dating. According to statistics from National Trafficking Hotlines, the Polaris Project, and The Life Story, traffickers often use certain tactics to control their victims—this could include isolating them from family and friends, introducing them to drugs and alcohol, intimidating and shaming them, threatening physical abuse, and controlling their financial resources. It is common for sex traffickers to share a familiar or romantic relationship with victims prior to forcing victims to sell sex.
The CSE Institute is hopeful that through the arduous investigation of local authorities, more victims of sex trafficking will receive the justice and protection they deserve. Further, the CSE Institute hopes the investigation pursues the victims’ sex buyers who should be criminalized in addition to Leahy. Updates about this case will be provided when as they become available.