A father and son were arrested on December 7, 2018 for allegedly selling a woman for sex in Palmer Township, according to reports by Lehigh Valley Live. Jason R. Cash, 41, and Justin C. Kresley, 20 were arraigned last week following a collaborative investigation by local authorities.
To effectuate these arrests, Palmer Township police conducted an undercover operation targeting the promotion of prostitution with officers from Bethlehem Township, Wilson Borough, and Colonial Regional police. Officers located an online for advertisement featuring a provocatively-dressed woman and arranged to meet up with her via text message. Later, officers conducting surveillance on the operation observed a woman get out of a silver Honda allegedly registered to Kresley. The officers reported seeing at least three more people in the car, which parked at a nearby business.
The woman approached the undercover officer and allegedly agreed to engage in commercial sex in exchange for $200. After the police revealed the sting operation, the woman acknowledged that Cash allegedly oversaw the operation by coordinating and transporting her to appointments. The woman also informed officers that Cash allegedly required her to have “an open line” on her phone so he could hear everything, and that she “had an active call” when she was taken into custody. The phone number used to communicate with the woman was found by investigators on multiple websites promoting commercial sex.
Court records indicate that Cash has been charged with two counts of promoting prostitution and one count of driving with a suspended license. Cash’s Pennsylvania court summary indicates that he was arrested in October of 2013 and initially charged with promoting the prostitution of a minor, but ultimately plead guilty to misdemeanor promoting prostitution. Kresley has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to promote prostitution and according to Lehigh Valley Live, the woman was not charged with a crime.
We are incredibly pleased with the work done by the police agencies involved with this case. Unfortunately, we commonly see persons who sell sex being charged with the crime of prostitution, while sex buyers and pimps are more likely to evade penalties. The crime of prostitution recidivizes in Pennsylvania, meaning the more a person is charged with it – the harsher the penalty gets. This scheme results in prostituted persons facing harsher penalties and winding up incarcerated for a “crime” likely committed out of desperation and a lack of meaningful choice.
Appearing to recognize the problem of how prostitution has traditionally been policed, authorities in Palmer Township have reportedly partnered with the VAST (Valley Against Sex Trafficking) to conduct investigations that provide the prostituted persons they encounter with meaningful social services, such as counseling and shelter, aimed at helping them exit the commercial sex trade. These investigations have also resulted in the arrests of several sex buyers. We would also like to acknowledge the reporting done by Lehigh Valley Live of these recent cases. The publication has done an excellent job of refraining from publishing the names of the prostituted persons encountered by police, as they are victims and not criminals. Keep up the good work!
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.