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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Scranton Man Charged In Sex Trafficking Conspiracy

HARRISBURG- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced the filing of a criminal information late yesterday charging a Scranton man with participating in a conspiracy to have a minor engage in prostitution.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the information alleges that Justin Strait, age 26, conspired with others to use a minor female to engage in prostitution at various motels in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties during February through August 2014.

The charge against Strait resulted from an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Pennsylvania State Police.

The information alleges that Strait and/or his co-conspirators recruited the minor to engage in prostitution, rented motel rooms for purposes of prostitution, provided condoms to the minor, photographed the minor and posted advertisements for “escort services” on a website, provided illegal drugs to the minor, and acted as security during prostitution activities.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit  www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit  www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty under federal law is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. There is also a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Human Trafficking
Updated December 18, 2015