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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Scranton Man Guilty Of Sex Trafficking Of A Minor

SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 28-year-old Scranton man pleaded guilty today before Senior U.S. District Court Judge James M. Munley in Scranton, to sex trafficking of a minor.

According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the defendant, Mark Matis, admitted to assisting others in transporting and maintaining a minor for the purpose of having the minor engage in prostitution during February through May 2014.

The sex trafficking activity involved placing photographs of the minor along with ads in the adult “escort” section of a website; renting motel rooms in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties where the prostitution activities occurred; providing drugs to the minor; purchasing and providing condoms for the minor to use during commercial sex acts; and serving as security or “bodyguards” at the motels where the commercial sex acts took place.

Matis was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2015, as a result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Pennsylvania State Police. Four persons were charged in connection with the investigation. Sean Cantelmo previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 151 months in prison. Jimmy Cantelmo also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Justin Strait pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Judge Munley scheduled sentencing in the case for February 8, 2017. Matis faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a potential maximum sentence of life in prison. Matis remains detained in prison pending sentencing.

“HSI is pleased that our joint investigation with PSP resulted in the defendant pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor,” said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. “HSI is devoted to protecting children from predators.”

Assistant United States Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

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."

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 for this offense is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. 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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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated November 9, 2016