Parsippany police had a busy week last week as they reportedly arrested eight women for prostitution after an investigation using undercover cops and the internet led to these arrests. The investigation was also fueled by tips from hotel owners, guests, and residents about a possible prostitution ring in the area. Parsippany is a prime location for prostitutes to work and meet their clients because it is accessible by three major highways: 80, 46, and 287. There are also reasonably priced hotels in the area. According to the NJ.com article,
“The following women were charged with solicitation of prostitution and released pending a court appearance:
- Feb. 15: Melanie Tomasino, 20, of South River and Heather Keen, 21, of Rahway, were arrested at the Days Inn on Route 46 in Parsippany.
- Feb. 21: Sharease Gary, 29, of Philadelphia; Zhai Wen Yan, 40, of Queens, N.Y.; and Zhen Yu Gong, 44, of Queens, N.Y.; were arrested at the Howard Johnson Express Hotel on Route 46 in Parsippany.
- Feb. 22: Si Wen Zhang, 31, of Queens, N.Y., was arrested at the Days Inn on Route 46 in Parsippany. Alicia Dorsey, 24, of Phoenix, was arrested at the Red Roof Inn on Route 46. Lyndsay Grey, 31, of Boston, was arrested at the Econolodge on Route 10 in Hanover TowNship.
The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Hanover Township, and Denville police departments also participated in the investigation.
Prostitution charges in New Jersey are governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1 which provides:
§ 2C:34-1. Prostition and Related Offenses
b.A person commits an offense if:
(1)The actor engages in prostitution;
(2)The actor promotes prostitution;
(3)The actor knowingly promotes prostitution of a child under 18 whether or not the actor mistakenly believed that the child was 18 years of age or older, even if such mistaken belief was reasonable;
(4)The actor knowingly promotes prostitution of the actors child, ward, or any other person for whose care the actor is responsible;
(5)The actor compels another to engage in or promote prostitution;
(6)The actor promotes prostitution of the actors spouse; or
(7)The actor knowingly engages in prostitution with a person under the age of 18, or if the actor enters into or remains in a house of prostitution for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a child under the age of 18, or if the actor solicits or requests a child under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity. It shall be no defense to a prosecution under this paragraph that the actor mistakenly believed that the child was 18 years of age or older, even if such mistaken belief was reasonable.
In these cases, the charges are disorderly persons offenses and will be handled in the Parsippany Municipal Court. The defendants are facing up to six (6) months in the county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine if they are convicted of these offenses. They will also have a permanent criminal record.