SCRANTON, Pa — A Scranton man was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday for sex trafficking of a minor and related conspiracy charges. The indictment follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Pennsylvania State Police.
According to the investigation, Sean Cantelmo, age 28, allegedly conspired with others to coerce a minor female to engage in prostitution and illegal sexual activity during February through May 2014.
The indictment alleges that the defendant used a cell phone to post advertisements for "escort services" involving the minor female on a website and rented motel rooms in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties to facilitate the prostitution activities.
Cantelmo is charged with Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking of Children by Force and Coercion and Sex Trafficking of Children by Force and Coercion.
The sex trafficking of children by force and coercion and conspiracy charges are each punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a possible maximum life sentence.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.