PROSTITUTION STING

Patrick L. Robinson, Wayne County District Attorney, announced eleven arrests connected with a “Prostitution Sting” which occurred at an undisclosed location within Wayne County on Tuesday, September 25, 2018. Wayne County Detectives arrested six male “Johns”, four female prostitutes, and one male “Pimp”. In addition to those arrested Tuesday, the all-day undercover sting resulted in scores of other calls from men wanting to pay for sex and from prostitutes wanting to provide sex for cash. The following individuals actually showed up at the location and were arrested:

The “Johns”:

• Brian Merritt, 40, from Honesdale, PA, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

•  Jason Nepa, 36, from Jefferson, PA, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• Michael Bauman, 63, from Pittston, PA, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• John Menapace, 73, from Lake Ariel, PA, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• David Pomeren, 62, from South Abington, PA, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• David Ferguson, 36, from Port Jervis, NY, charged with Patronizing Prostitutes, graded as a Misdemeanor 3rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary.

The Prostitutes:

• Jessica Goodwin, 24, from Scranton, PA, charged with Prostitution, graded as a Misdemeanor 3rd degree, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, graded as a Misdemeanor, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• Alyssa Giordano, 29, from Bloomfield, NJ, charged with Prostitution, graded as a Misdemeanor 3rd degree, and Disorderly Conduct, graded as a summary;

• Latasha Valera, 36, from Wilkes-Barre, PA, charged with Promoting Prostitution, graded as a Felony 3rd degree, and Promoting Prostitution, graded as a Misdemeanor 2nd degree;

• Samantha Rydzy, 22, from Dupont, PA, charged with Promoting Prostitution, graded as a Felony 3rd degree, and Promoting Prostitution, graded as a Misdemeanor 2nd degree.

The “Pimp”:

• Prince Rodriguez, 33, from Wilkes-Barre, PA, charged with Promoting Prostitution, graded as a Felony 3rd degree, and Promoting Prostitution, graded as a Misdemeanor 2nd degree. Rodriguez was armed with a loaded 9mm pistol when he was taken into custody. During a subsequent search of his vehicle, a short barreled pistol gripped 12 gauge shotgun loaded with five 12 gauge slugs was found between the center console and front passenger seat. A small amount of marijuana was found on the back seat and a 7.62mm semi-automatic rifle with four fully loaded magazines was found in the trunk. A bandolier with numerous 12 gauge slugs was also found in the trunk. The investigation into the firearms is continuing.

Rodriguez, Valera and Rydzy were arraigned by District Magistrate Judge Ronald Edwards that night. Bail for Rodriguez was set at $50,000.00 and bail for Valera and Rydzy was set at $25,000.00. All three were remanded to the Wayne County Correctional Facility. Their initial court appearance is scheduled for 9:00 am on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at the Wayne County Courthouse.

District Attorney Robinson stated, “This Prostitution Sting is a first for Wayne County, at least in the last 25 years that I have worked in the District Attorney’s Office. Keep in mind that prostitution is not a victimless crime. Prostitution is often associated with Human Trafficking, Illegal Drugs, Guns, and Violence. The purpose of this Prostitution Sting was to create a public awareness and deter anyone from buying sex. It is a crime and those who are caught will have their mug shots and names published in the media. If these arrests and this Press Release do not deter prostitution and solicitation of prostitutes in Wayne County, I do not know what will.”

Robinson thanked the following agencies for their help and support in this Prostitution Sting:

• Wayne County Drug Task Force, which included officers from the Honesdale Borough Police Department, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, the Hawley Borough Police Department and the Lehigh Township Police Department;

• Wayne County Children & Youth Services;

• Monroe County Detectives Office;

• Pike County Detectives Office;

• FBI Violent Crimes Task Force;

• The Truth Home, an organization devoted to victims of sex trafficking.

A special note of thanks is owed to the County Detectives from the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office. They have done many of these Prostitution Stings in the past and their help and advice was indispensable to the success of this operation.

The filing of criminal charges is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the Commonwealth against a defendant. A charged Defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the Commonwealth has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant enters a guilty plea to the charges.