New charges for city man accused of running Internet prostitution ring
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Prosecutors this morning filed new and more serious charges, including sexual exploitation of children and unlawful contact with a minor, against a Reading man previously charged with running a city-based Internet prostitution ring.
Paul S. Sewell, 44, of the 200 block of North 10th Street, was arraigned by District Judge Wally Scott on more than 150 counts after he was brought into Scott’s courtroom in prison shackles for his scheduled preliminary hearing on the previous charges.
A former bounty hunter who called himself “God,” Sewell waived all the charges to Berks County Court and was returned to Schuylkill County Prison in lieu of $5 million bail. Scott raised his bail from $1 million.
Sewell is being jailed in the Schuylkill jail at the request of Berks County Prison officials, who said they want to avoid any problems between him and inmates he may have dealt with when he was a bounty hunter.
The new charges were filed as a result of an ongoing investigation that determined that he employed a 16-year-old girl as part of the organization, prosecutors said.
Sewell was arrested July 28 as he delivered one of his prostitutes to an undercover detective at a hotel in Wyomissing, investigators said.
District Attorney John T. Adams said the arrest of Sewell followed a nine-month investigation by members of the Berks County Drug Task Force.
Among the new charges against Sewell include prostitution, participating in a corrupt organization, dealing with the proceeds of unlawful activity, sexual abuse of children, unlawful contact with a minor, sexual exploitation of children, possessing child pornography and conspiracy.
Sewell uttered profanities to a reporter when he was asked for a comment after he was led from the courtroom by constables after the hearing.
Sewell applied to become a police officer in the 1980s but was thrown out of the Reading police academy after an incident at the pistol range. He worked as a constable in Kutztown but was fired after an incident in a borough bar. Sewell was also found guilty of impersonating a police officer while working for a city bail bonding agency.
Investigators said Sewell had a stable of up to 20 women of all ages and nationalities working at one time. Sewell advertised on a website he controlled under the name “Cash Money Brothers” and also on Facebook and Craigslist, investigators said.
Prices on the site ranged from $145 per hour to $800 for the night and $2,500 for the weekend.
Sewell told investigators the business brought in $150,000 in 2009.
Investigators initially said they believed some of the females working for Sewell were minors.
After choosing a woman, investigators said, customers would call Sewell to work out the details and arrange to have sex at one of the two row houses he owned in the 200 block of North 10th and the 200 block of Fisher Court, which is directly behind the 10th Street house.
Sewell also offered to deliver the women to customers at hotels or residences as part of an “outcall service,” Adams said.
Undercover investigators arranged to have sex for money with Sewell’s women on three separate occasions – once at one of the city houses and two other times at hotels in Wyomissing, authorities said. Sewell delivered the women to the Wyomissing hotels, investigators said.
Three women who agreed to have sex for money with the detectives were charged with prostitution and related offenses and conspiracy.