Scranton, Pa

Erie Man Arrested After Attempting to Meet Teen for Sex

Posted: March 4, 2024

On February 4, 2024, Gregg Crossley Jr. of Erie County was arrested after he allegedly attempted to meet who he believed to be a 14-year-old girl for sex. He is charged with criminal attempt to commit statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault corruption of minors, and criminal use of a communication facility. Crossley is currently being held in Jefferson County Prison on a $50,000 bail.

Starting in November 2023, a non-profit organization posed as a teenage girl online and collected incriminating texts sent from Crossley, including sexually explicit photos. Eerie County Police reported that Crossley allegedly “acknowledged the teen’s age” and communicated a desire to have a future with her, including the possibility of “getting her pregnant.” Crossley arranged to meet the teen on February 4, 2024.When Crossley arrived, he was met with police and taken into custody.

While we commend law enforcement for making an arrest in this case, we encourage the use of the federal sex trafficking statute in addition to the current charges. Under federal law, a person is guilty of trafficking if they recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, advertise, maintain, patronize, or solicit a person for a commercial sex act. To be charged with sex trafficking of a child, the prosecution must only prove that the defendants engaged in soliciting, enticing, harboring, obtaining, patronizing, or transporting a minor who is or will be subject to sexual servitude. Because the victim is a minor, the Government does not need to prove the defendant knew or recklessly disregarded the victim’s age. Under both federal and state law, any commercial sexual exploitation of minors constitutes sex trafficking because children cannot consent to be bought or sold for sex. This often makes it easier to prosecute. Adding this charge in cases such as this could increase the chances of holding sex buyers accountable for their attempts to purchase and exploit children for their sexual pleasure. Additionally, if force, fraud, or coercion can be proven, this charge may result in steeper sanctions.

We encourage prosecutors to use all relevant statutes that fit alleged criminal activity. If law enforcement and prosecutors are committed to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children, they should use the most effective tools at their disposal by charging sex trafficking of children in addition to other relevant offenses.

The CSE Institute applauds the efforts of the Brookville Police for their efforts to protect minors from commercial sexual exploitation in Pennsylvania. It is imperative that law enforcement proactively identifies predatory offenders online to minimize harm to children in our communities. Targeting sex buyers who knowingly seek to exploit vulnerable populations such as children is key to reducing the demand for commercial sex and reducing human trafficking overall. After all, it is this demand that fuels the sex trafficking industry.

The CSE Institute advocates for the adoption of the Equality Model in the United States. 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 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 decriminalization of people in prostitution recognizes those who are bought and sold for sex as exploited, not as perpetrators of a crime.

The CSE Institute will provide updates on this matter as they become available.

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


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