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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 12, 2021

York County Man Sentenced To 33 Years’ Imprisonment For Sex Trafficking

HARRISBURG, PA - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced Robert Lee Johnson a/k/a Stone, age 54, of York, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on April 8, 2021, to 396 months’ imprisonment by U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Wilson on sex trafficking charges.

According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Johnson knowingly recruited and enticed multiple victims to engage in commercial sex acts at local hotels between November 2015 and August 2016, in York County. Most of the victims worked on an “all in” basis, meaning they would give all of the money they earned to Johnson in exchange for having basic living expenses supplied. They relied on Johnson for food and clothing and, most significantly, heroin to support their addictions.  Johnson was often violent, threatened the victims and physically assaulted them if they tried to keep any money or if they were “disrespectful.”  Johnson would force the victims to watch him beat someone to serve as a warning on what would happen to them if they crossed Johnson.  As another method of threatening and forcing the victims was to withholding heroin from them until they reached a quota of tricks.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Ford and retired Assistant U.S. Attorney James Clancy prosecuted the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

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 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 April 12, 2021