Scranton, Pa

“Buyers Beware:” Undercover Prostitution Sting Leads to Ten Arrests in Cumberland County

Posted: September 21, 2022

On September 9, 2022, John Duncan, 69, Andrew Monelli, 25, Jerry Moreno, 21, Michael Myers, 47, Hayatullah Parwani, 26, Dennis Stoner, 62, Prakash Sunam, 25, Mark Sweigart, 48, Andrew Funk, 39, and Andrew McBride, 34, were arrested and charged in an undercover prostitution sting by police in Hamden Township, Cumberland County, PA.

According to media reports, the ten men were arrested as part of Cumberland County’s Human Trafficking Initiative, specifically Operation Effect Change, an initiative designed to apprehend people involved in solicitation of prostitution. An undercover officer posted an advertisement selling sex and arrested men who traveled to a Hamden Township hotel seeking to purchase sex.

Operation Effect Change is a successor to Operation Impact Demand, which resulted in the arrest of six men, in Cumberland County earlier this year. Of the ten men arrested, only two have since been charged. Funk has been charged with patronizing prostitutes, possession with intent to manufacture or deliver marijuana, and unlawful use of medical marijuana. McBride has been charged with patronizing prostitutes, possession with intent to manufacture or deliver marijuana, and firearms not to be carried without a license.  District Attorney Sean McCormack said in relation to the arrests, “We are currently focused on demand, that’s the customer side of the equation. Buyers beware, we will continue these operations.”

The CSE Institute commends the efforts of Cumberland County Investigators, the Hamden Township Police, and the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office for arresting these ten men. Furthermore, the CSE Institute proudly recognizes the investigators choice to focus their efforts on arresting those attempting to buy sex. By targeting those who buy sex, law enforcement officials are also targeting the root cause of sexual exploitation.

The CSE Institute’s policy advocacy focuses on the Equality Model, which continues to criminalize buying sex to decrease demand and therefore decrease the number of victims in commercial sexual exploitation. The Equality Model consists of four key elements: (1) decriminalization of the prostituted person, (2) criminalization of sex buyers and facilitators with a commitment to treating buying sex as a serious crime, (3) a public education campaign about the inherent harms of prostitution, and (4) funded, robust, holistic exit services for victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The Equality Model calls for a law enforcement approach which directly targets the demand for buying sex by criminalizing sex buyers and traffickers, while decriminalizing the people who are being bought and sold for commercial sex. The CSE Institute applauds the Cumberland County law enforcement officials who are working to put an end to commercial sexual exploitation by focusing on the demand of sex trafficking and shifting the narrative to “Buyers beware.”

The CSE Institute will continue to provide updates on this matter.

All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University. 

Category: News

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