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How do the police avoid entrapment when conducting a sting operation?

YORK, Pa. AP — Inside the bedroom, Heather Strausbaugh sat talking with her client — the conversation ranged from nightlife and bars to their families. The man seemed nervous. But, eventually, he took off his clothes and laid beside her on the bed. Minutes later, police officers barged through the front door, and saw the young woman, naked holding a blanket wrapped around her body, and the man she had just been in bed with was walking toward them. He was an undercover police officer. Now, Strausbaugh was under arrest.

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And they even found an online ad confirming their suspicions. And the listing was on Back.

Strausbaugh argued that how to avoid getting busted for prostitution she had been doing was legal — there was never an exchange of money for sex. But a jury disagreed, finding that what had been happening was clearly prostitution. At what point do they stop?

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Several of these cases ended with someone being sentenced to probation or ordered to pay fines and court costs. Every time a person is prostituted, experts say, he or she is further victimized. The Pennsylvania Superior Court examined the question of whether someone needed to actually have sex to be found guilty of prostitution in Fredericks gave her the money and then placed her under arrest. The woman was found guilty of prostitution. Spaeth Jr. Police departments and their policies.

The York Daily Record filed Right-to-Know Law requests with more than 25 police departments in Pennsylvania, including all of them in York County, for copies of written memos, procedures and policies on how police officers are to conduct prostitution investigations.

Many did not have policies. One emphasized that it rarely encounters prostitution in its jurisdiction.

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But other police departments that have recently conducted these investigations did not have any policies, either. Tom Kelley, how to avoid getting busted for prostitution defense attorney in York, likened prostitution cases to undercover drug investigations. Kelley ly served as first assistant district attorney and was on the York County Court of Common Pleas from to Sometimes, he said, police officers have to be smarter than their adversaries. Try harder.

Tactics in prostitution stings raise questions

You have the entire wealth of the state behind you. The policy formalized the guidelines that the department had already been following when it started using its own police officers to conduct details aimed at targeting human traffickers several years ago, Northern York County Regional Police Deputy Chief David Lash said. Normally, Lash said, police have enough evidence to make an arrest even prior to meeting with someone — through text messages, for instance. The general rule of the West York Borough Police Department, the document states, is to not go beyond the initial information and intelligence gathering phase — unless an obvious and articulable case can be established in clear and plain view of uniformed police officers.

Instead, the cases will be referred to outside, specialized units or agencies. In an interview, Millsaps emphasized that police would take immediate action if they received information that, for instance, someone was being held against his or her will and forced into prostitution. Millsaps said he likes to believe that his approach for a small department makes sense for both the taxpayers and the police officers. Police officers can compromise cases with their behavior in investigations. The lead investigator admitted in testimony that he and the others laughed after each rendezvous. Though his supervisors did not expressly approve the sex, they were aware and did not disapprove of it.

Steinberg granted a motion to throw out the case on the grounds of outrageous government conduct. The Pennsylvania Superior Court later upheld the ruling. Law enforcement can be reprimanded for conduct unbecoming of a police officer.

Courts have provided guidance about what rises to that level. Generally speaking, police officers are held to higher ethical standards than normal employees, said Stanton Miller, an attorney in Media.

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Conduct unbecoming of a police officer, he said, is sort of like a catchall. Even when police are found to have engaged in unprofessional behavior in a prostitution investigation, that might not rise to the level of a crime. Each time someone is prostituted, he or she experiences trauma, said Mary Anne Layden, a psychotherapist and director of education at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania. Sex workers and those who are addicted to drugs or mentally ill are at an increased risk for sex-related police violence due to the stigmas surrounding them and their general vulnerability to abuse, she said.

Layden said she understands that some police officers make these arrests to help people get access to resources or find an exit strategy. They do not think the police will take their complaints seriously, and they worry about the legal ramifications, she said.

InPennsylvania had 1, arrests for prostitution, but only were for buying sex. Since Rhodes began handling these cases as a prosecutor in Philadelphia inshe said she has been concerned with police tactics. If someone is under investigation for prostitution, law enforcement should not be able to engage in any type of sexual conduct with that individual to make an arrest, Rhodes said.

Law enforcement should work with victim services and set the women up with resources and exit strategies. For Strausbaugh, the woman who was found guilty of prostitution after the sting in West Manchester Township, the verdict amounted to more than probation and court costs. She eventually found work.

But now, Strausbaugh said she hates and distrusts the police. Tactics in prostitution stings raise questions. Connect with the definitive source for global and local news. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.