Scranton, Pa

Man and Woman Charged with Multiple Prostitution Offenses After Routine Traffic Stop in Lycoming County

Posted: February 25, 2024

On January 29, 2024, a Williamsport man identified as  Jeremy Draper-Bell, 30, and a 33 year-old Lycoming County woman, were charged with multiple prostitution offenses. The police charged the woman promoting prostitution, conspiracy to promote prostitution, intentional possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered, procuring a prostitute for a patronpossession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and driving an unregistered vehicle following a routine traffic stop. Conversely, Draper-Bell was only charged with patronizing prostitution. Last month, however, the police charged him with theft and other related offenses.

After being pulled over by Officer Tyson Minier for driving an unregistered vehicle in December of 2023, the woman allegedly admitted there was marijuana inside the vehicle. A further search of the car uncovered marijuana, a meth pipe, scale, and methamphetamine. During the search, Officer Minier realized Draper-Bell was standing outside his house observing the traffic stop. After further questioning of the woman, law enforcement realized Draper-Bell had allegedly paid the women for sexual acts. Draper-Bell handed over his phone to law enforcement to verify the woman’s story. Both parties then gave written statements claiming that Draper-Bell gave the woman $10 to drive down from New York, and paid her additional money for engaging in sexual acts with him.

The CSE Institute is disappointed in NorthCentralPA for choosing to publicize the first and last name of the woman in this case. In publishing her name, the news outlet is promoting the notion that prostituted persons are criminals, rather than exploited persons.

Additionally, the CSE institute is disappointed in law enforcement’s decision to charge the woman with prostitution. Instead, we urge law enforcement to look further into the nuances of this situation to determine whether the woman is a victim of human trafficking. The practice of prosecuting people who are bought for sex perpetuates a harmful ideology that people in prostitution are criminals, rather than people who are being exploited. Further, it creates additional barriers for victims attempting to exit the “life”. Criminal convictions serve as an additional hurdle in seeking meaningful employment, housing opportunities, and much more.

The CSE Institute is a steadfast advocate for the Equality Model to combat commercial sexual exploitation. This model aims to reduce demand for commercial sex, by criminalizing sex buyers and traffickers, rather than the criminalization of prostituted people. The four pillars of the Equality Model are  (1) decriminalization of the person who is selling sex, (2) criminalization of sex buyers and facilitators, (3) educating the public about the harms of prostitution, and (4) funded, holistic exit services for victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

To combat human trafficking, law enforcement and public officials need to redirect their efforts to identify and support victims, rather than arresting and prosecuting those who are bought and sold for sex. The CSE Institute hopes that law enforcement and district attorneys will use their power and discretion to support and seek justice for victims, rather than perpetuate their criminalization.

The CSE Institute will continue to provide updates as this matter unfolds.

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 Villanova University.   

Category: News

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