The grand opening of the Snuggle House in Madison, Wisconsin has been put on hold by city officials concerned that the business may become a House of Prostitution. However, representatives for the business said it is simply a place to engage in therapeutic cuddle sessions and their services are strictly non-sexual.
Pennsylvania Prostitution Law
In Pennsylvania, Prostitution is defined under Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. 5902 and can generally be divided into 3 categories: 1) Prostitution; 2) Promoting Prostitution; and, 3) Patronizing a Prostitute.
The first category addresses a general view of "Prostitution" where a person is accused of "engaging in sex as a business." Meanwhile, the definition of "Promoting Prostitution" would include conduct known as "pimping" or managing others who are actively engaged in illegal sexual activities. Finally, "Patronizing a Prostitute" would be charged where a person hires a prostitute to engage in sexual activity.
Additionally, prostitution is a "recidivist offense," which means the grading and penalties increase for subsequent or repeat convictions. Consequently, a person accused of prostitution or patronizing a prostitute could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony offense depending upon the number prior convictions (or lack thereof).
Prostitution Sting Operations
Many counties throughout Central and South Central Pennsylvania have established task forces for nuisance abatement that target prostitution activities. Law enforcement frequently identifies specific hotels or motels in a particular area that are frequented by people looking to engage in illicit sexual activities.
In an effort to identify targets, police frequently surf internet sites where people are known to "discretely" advertise their "services." Similar to city officials' concerns with potential blurred lines for the Snuggle House's services, these advertisements will often offer a "good time" and something less than sexual activity. Instead, the fee is for companionship.
Additionally, police will also post advertisements on these websites to draw out "johns" looking to hire a prostitute.
Harrisburg Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of prostitution, promoting prostitution, or patronizing a prostitute, you face serious, life-altering consequences. A conviction for a momentary lapse in judgement can result a life-long stigma undermining your character and employment opportunities.
When you have been charged with a prostitution offense, your Preliminary Hearing is the first and best opportunity to inject common sense, reason, and context into the equation.