On March 11, 2022, former Carlisle police detective and FBI task officer, Christopher Collare, was sentenced to 75 months in prison for bribery, drug distribution, and making false statements.
On July 16th,, 2021, Collare, was found guilty of federal program bribery, bribery by a federal official, six counts of false statements, and distribution of heroin. The victim in this case testified that she repeatedly had sex with Collare in exchange for money and heroin. Additionally, Collare used power to tip her off about a police raid on her boyfriend’s house. Her boyfriend was subsequently arrested.
Following her boyfriend’s arrest, the woman testified that Collare continued to solicit sex. Collare proposed a deal to the victim, in which he would not attend her boyfriend’s court hearing in exchange for sex. If Collare did not attend the hearing, there was a possibility that the criminal charges would be dismissed.
Although Collare was charged, the grand jury did not indict Collare for sex trafficking. The grand jury, instead, named his pressuring of women into sex acts in exchange for possible help for their loved ones as “bribes” and defrauding of the county. We are troubled by the fact that Collare was not charged with sex trafficking as the required elements to prove this charge were present in the victim’s testimony. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) states that trafficking is accomplished through “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.” In this case, trafficking was accomplished through coercion, which is defined as “(A) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; (B) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or (C) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.” Here, Collare’s coercion of the victims was accomplished through both the threatened physical confinement of their significant others as well as threatened abuse of the legal process against their partners. The power imbalance inherent in Collare’s status as a police detective strengthened the reality of these threats.
Moreover, these allegations fit within the definition of a commercial sex act, “any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.” Here, the respective dismissal and lessening of the criminal charges and sentences against the victims’ partners were of value to the women. Collare intended for his victim to believe that failure to perform sexual acts would result in harm. If the victim did not perform the coerced sexual acts Collare threatened to attend the court hearing and proceed with the legal process against the victim’s loved one. Collare targeted vulnerable victims and used his authority as a weapon to coerce sex.
The CSE Institute applauds the work of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General who investigated the case. Additionally, the CSE Institute appreciates the work of Trial Attorney James I. Pearce of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carlo D. Marchioli and Phillip J. Caraballo for charging, convicting, and sentencing a corrupt law enforcement officer who used his position of authority to abuse vulnerable women. We commend the victim for disclosing descriptive details of her abuse in her testimony. After all, it is without a doubt that survivor voices will be the ones to promulgate change in the sex trafficking narrative.
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.