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Appeals Court upholds Sex Offender Registration requirements for defendant who ran prostitution operation

SCRANTON — The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on May 10, 2018, affirmed the 15 ½-year prison sentence of Thurman Stanley, age 41, of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, including a requirement that Stanley comply with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), imposed by Senior U.S. District Court Judge James M. Munley.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the Court ruled that Stanley, who pleaded guilty to drug and interstate prostitution charges in March 2017, waived his right to appeal the applicability of SORNA because he agreed in the plea agreement that SORNA applied to his offenses.

Stanley argued on appeal that SORNA did not apply to interstate transportation offenses where the prostitution involved consenting adults and did not involve force or coercion. The government argued that Stanley waived his right to challenge the court’s imposition of SORNA requirements when he acknowledged in the plea agreement that SORNA applied, and argued that there was sufficient evidence to show that Stanley used force, threats and coercion in his prostitution activities.

In affirming Stanley’s sentence, the Court explained that, “[a] defendant who stipulates to a point in a plea agreement cannot later make arguments taking a contrary position.”

Stanley was indicted on sex trafficking, prostitution, and drug charges by a federal grand jury in November 2016, as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and local police from Monroe County. Stanley subsequently admitted to prostituting 11 adult females in Pennsylvania, including transporting three of the females to New York, Iowa, and North Dakota for purposes of prostitution.

Assistant United States Attorney Francis P. Sempa prosecuted the case and argued the appeal for the government before a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court.

Source: US Attorney’s Office for Middle District of PA