Scranton, Pa

UPDATE: High School Teacher Arrested for Child Sex Trafficking

Posted: April 16, 2024

Former high school teacher and volunteer football coach Michael Feifel, 56, was sentenced to serve eleven months twenty-nine days to twenty four months less a day, followed by twelve months of probation. This sentence followed a guilty plea to one count each of unlawful contact with a minor- prostitution and criminal use of a communication facility. Feifel’s minimum sentence being under a year means he will avoid being incarcerated in state prison.

As we previously reported, Feifel’s charges arose from a multi-jurisdictional child sex trafficking investigation conducted by Berks, Northampton, and Lehigh counties during which undercover police officers placed ads on websites posing as a minor to be bought for sex. Feifel responded to these ads – contacting who he believed to be a 17 year-old girl – arranged a meeting, and agreed to pay for sexual acts. On June 29, 2023, Feifel was arrested upon arrival at the designated meeting spot and charged with unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a communication facility.

Feifel was a high school social studies teacher at Lehighton Area High School in Carbon County, and a football coach in other surrounding school districts, including Pennridge School District, Southern Lehigh School District, Salisbury Township School District, and Northampton Area School District.

Feifel resigned from his teaching job at Lehighton Area High School effective on August 30, 2023. The Pennridge School District also removed Feifel from his position as football coach on July 10, 2023 in response to his arrest.

The CSE Institute applauds Berks, Northampton, and Lehigh counties for their work in investigating and arresting Feifel. However, we continue to encourage the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office to consider charging individuals like Feifel with child sex trafficking in addition to other charges. Under Pennsylvania law, a person is guilty of child sex trafficking if they recruit, entice, solicit, advertise, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, or maintain a person under 18 for any sex act in exchange for anything of value. Based on the reported facts, Feifel met the elements for this crime by soliciting a person he thought was underage for sex in exchange for money. Additionally, charging individuals with unlawful contact with a minor involving prostitution under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6318(a)(3) is inappropriate because children cannot legally consent to be bought or sold for sex, and under Pennsylvania’s Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Act, there is “no such thing as a child prostitute.”

Law enforcement must continue taking steps to protect children in their communities by conducting investigations into child sexual abuse. Predators often connect with potential victims through social media or other platforms. Parents should monitor their children’s internet usage and report any suspicious contacts or activity. Vigilant oversight from parents and law enforcement are essential to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Arresting sex buyers, who seek to exploit minors and other vulnerable populations, is a key part of reducing the demand for commercial sexual exploitation. The CSE Institute advocates for the Equality Model. The four pillars of this model are: (1) decriminalizing the person in prostitution, (2) criminalizing sex buyers, (3) educating the public about the inherent harms of prostitution, and (4) providing robust, funded exit services for people in prostitution.

 All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.

Category: News

« Back to News
  • Learn More About The CSE Institute

    We welcome contact from organizations and individuals interested in more information about The CSE Institute and how to support it.

    Shea M. Rhodes, Esq.
    Tel: 610-519-7183

    Prof. Michelle M. Dempsey
    Faculty Advisor
    Tel: 610-519-8011

    Contact Us »