Thursday, March 20, 2008

To be this brazen ...

one would have to suspect that cops running child prostitution and exploitation rings might be more common than can be imagined.

Pa. trooper protected child prostitution ring, feds say
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

HARRISBURG -- A former Pennsylvania state trooper tipped off pimps who ran a child prostitution ring in exchange for money and sex, federal prosecutors said today in announcing charges against him.

Kevin J. Coleman, 42, of Harrisburg, was accused of interfering with a nationwide investigation into a ring that used women and teenagers as prostitutes. He was accused of disclosing investigative details, wiretaps and police sweeps.

Prosecutors said Mr. Coleman was assigned to anti-prostitution patrols at the Gables Truck Stop near Harrisburg when pimps -- many from Toledo, Ohio -- were operating there.

The federal investigation known as Precious Cargo led to the conviction of 14 pimps and two lead prostitutes, all awaiting sentencing.

Mr. Coleman resigned as a state trooper after learning he was under investigation, prosecutors said. It could not immediately be determined if he has a lawyer.

The federal indictment in December 2005 that broke up the ring described it as a "loose confederacy" where pimps worked together to avoid police and run their business. The women and girls were moved from state to state and "sold" between pimps.

At least nine were under age 18 when they were forced into working as prostitutes, authorities said, and in one case a 12-year-old girl was forced to engage in prostitution to pay for her grandfather's crack cocaine.

The pimps were indicted in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan, and the investigation was considered one of the largest coordinated efforts to break up child prostitution rings in the United States.

Investigators said they identified at least 125 women who worked as prostitutes for the ring in the Harrisburg area.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
First published on March 12, 2008 at 1:04 pm

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