Scranton, Pa

Lehigh Valley Man Arrested for Soliciting Sex From 17-year-old Girl

Posted: April 3, 2023

On March 24, a 41-year-old man was arrested for soliciting a 17-year-old-girl for sex acts after obtaining her phone number for ‘work purposes.’ The man was an emergency medical services manager for the Fountain Hill Fire Department in Lehigh Valley. He utilized his position of power to solicit sexual acts from a junior firefighter under his supervision. He has since been arrested, charged with a third-degree misdemeanor of solicitation to commit prostitution, and released on $5,000 unsecured bail. Not only does this arrest illustrate how individuals utilize positions of power to coerce and force people into sexual acts, but the reporting of these incidents illustrates how poor media practices stigmatize victims and survivors of prostitution and trafficking.

By stating in the article that the man was “soliciting a 17-year-old for prostitution,” the Lehigh Valley News article ignores the fact that there is that there is no such thing as a child prostitute. Children are inherently incapable of consenting to sex with adults. Additionally, the Morning Call article uses a photo of the perpetrator with a smile on his face, therefore putting him in an unnecessarily positive light. Instead of highlighting how this man used his position of power to exploit a vulnerable minor, these articles implicitly lend the man credibility as a manager of the fire department. Using language that lends credibility to the perpetrator in this situation perpetuates the stigmatization of victims. These journalists should emphasize the harm caused to the victim and report on the current steps that have been made to rectify the situation.

The CSE Institute commends Lehigh Valley law enforcement for their efforts, as well as the Lehigh Valley District Attorney for arresting and charging the perpetrator, targeting commercial sex demand, rather than arresting the child and stigmatizing and victimizing her further. The CSE Institute urges journalists in Lehigh Valley to be cognizant of the reporting strategies they use and the impact that language has in any given report.

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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