In the small town of Enola, Pennsylvania, just west of Harrisburg, an investigation conducted by the Harrisburg City Bureau of Police and East Pennsboro Township Police Department culminated in the arrest of alleged child sex buyer, Michael S. McCreary (54). According to the police, it was McCreary himself who made an allegedly false report that led to his arrest.
In December 6, 2018, McCreary went to the local police station to report that two of his firearms had been stolen from his secondary residence on the 100 block of Howard Street. A week later, Harrisburg City Bureau of Police located one of the weapons and promptly contacted East Pennsboro Township Police. According to media reports, at this point Harrisburg law enforcement informed East Pennsboro that they had observed McCreary purportedly driving into Harrisburg with another, unidentified man.
Police alleged that McCreary sold the missing weapon in exchange for drugs. Further investigation revealed that McCreary allegedly attempted to use the two firearms as payment for sex with a child. The child, an unidentified underage girl, deferred possession of the firearms to a person identified by the news media as her “boyfriend.” In concert with the “boyfriend,” McCreary facilitated the exchange of the firearm for drugs.
McCreary is charged with four counts of illegal delivery/sale of firearms, unlawful contact with a minor, patronizing prostitutes, false reports to law enforcement authorities, unsworn falsification to authorities, and corruption of a minor. He is out on bail and awaiting a preliminary hearing scheduled in July.
The CSE Institute applauds the Harrisburg City Bureau of Police and the East Pennsboro Township Police for their months-long efforts collaborating in this investigation. Based on the allegations, it is clear that McCreary is a potentially dangerous individual, and we commend law enforcement for making this arrest.
In this instance, it should be noted that the child who McCreary allegedly bought for sex is not an “underage prostitute,” as offensively reported in several news media outlets, but rather a victim of paid rape – also known as sex trafficking. Last year, Pennsylvania enacted the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Act that made it unequivocally clear that there is no such thing as a child prostitute. Legally, one cannot “patronize prostitution” from a child. Buying sex from a child is a recognized form of child abuse known as “sexual exploitation.”
We encourage the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office to analyze these allegations relative to the Commonwealth’s human trafficking laws. Our statute clearly defines sexual servitude as a sex act in exchange for “anything of value” – including firearms and drugs. The CSE Institute strongly believes that anyone buying sex from a child can and should be prosecuted as a sex trafficker. After all, it is the demand for commercial sex that drives the market – even in places like Enola, PA.
Moreover, these allegations, while sparse, raise red flags about the role of the child’s alleged “boyfriend,” and her overall safety and well-being. We encourage law enforcement to further consider what additional charges could be brought as a result of this investigation.
All viewed 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.