Crime

3 men face charges after prostitution investigation at State College hotel

The difference between prostitution and sex trafficking

According to experts, it's important to understand the differences between prostitution, which is voluntary, and sex trafficking, which can trap victims with involuntary sex work.
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According to experts, it's important to understand the differences between prostitution, which is voluntary, and sex trafficking, which can trap victims with involuntary sex work.

Three men accused of having sex with prostitutes at the Super 8 in State College were charged Monday after a joint investigation by State College police and the state attorney general’s office.

The two agencies received a tip in January from Brookville police about a possible prostitution or human trafficking operation based at the 1663 S. Atherton St. hotel, according to a criminal complaint filed by the AG’s office. Officers later contacted two Super 8 managers and were put in a room directly across the hall from Tsai-Hsia Wu, 56, and Yu-Ying Yeh, 51, to establish surveillance, authorities said.

Victor Shvenke, a 65-year-old from Bellefonte, was the first man to walk into Wu and Yeh’s room, according to the complaint.

Travis Horner, a 38-year-old from Lewistown, followed about two hours later, and Harold Geise, a 64-year-old from State College, went into the room about 30 minutes after Horner, authorities said.

All three were stopped by officers as they attempted to leave the hotel, authorities said. Shvenke and Geise said they’ve known Yeh for “years,” while Horner said he “meet(s) girls like this infrequently,” according to the complaint.

Each admitted to paying at least $140 for sex with one of the two women, authorities said. None of the men could be reached for comment.

Edward Tubbs — chief operating officer for Hospitality Asset Management Company, which operates Super 8 — said the company abides by the law and reports all incidents to the authorities.

Horner, Geise and Shvenke were each charged with one misdemeanor count of criminal solicitation and one misdemeanor count of patronizing prostitutes.

Each has a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 17.

Yeh was charged in February with one felony count of criminal use of a communication facility and one misdemeanor count of prostitution. Wu was charged with one misdemeanor count of prostitution.

Both women are scheduled to plead guilty March 20, according to court documents.

Yeh’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Lora Rupert, declined to comment. Wu’s attorney, Justin Miller, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to experts, it's important to understand the differences between prostitution, which is voluntary, and sex trafficking, which can trap victims with involuntary sex work.

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.

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