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PROVIDENCE—Rhode Island State Police said they’ve arrested 14 people for prostitution-related crimes since a new law went into effect that banned indoor prostitution, including a man who plays the New England Patriots’ mascot.
State police said Friday that since last month, they have arrested eight men, five women and one 17-year-old girl for prostitution or for procurement of sexual conduct for a fee.
Law enforcement sources told NBC 10 one of the johns who tried to pay for sex with a prostitute was 47-year-old Robert Sormanti of Warwick. He is one of several people who plays the Pat the Patriot mascot.
“The Pat Patriot mascot costume is worn by multiple people, each of whom are held responsible and accountable for their actions. The individual in question has been suspended. The mascot responsibilities will continue to be fulfilled by others,“ said a statement from the team.
A call to Sormanti’s home was not immediately returned.
These are the first arrests since the governor signed a new law that closed a loophole that made indoor prostitution legal. Eight men and six women were arrested.
Over the past month, state police conducted two stings. In one, they placed an ad on the adult section of Craigslist. A woman, really a state trooper, offered sex for money.
“Shortly after posting to the Web site, we received numerous calls from males seeking sexual conduct in return for a fee,“ state police Capt. David Neill said.
The second sting involved a state trooper answering escort ads on Craigslist and in local newspapers.
One of the prostitutes arrested was a 17-year-old girl.
“There was a 17-year-old arrested. Coupled with some of the conversations from the johns, it’s reprehensible that we have a young girl who’s put in a difficult socio-economic situation, and she feels this is a good trade to go to. Well, that’s not,“ said state police Col. Brendan Doherty.
One prostitute told the state police she makes $1,000 a day. Two of the hookers showed up to meeting places—hotels and motels in the Providence metropolitan area—in a new Mercedes and a 750-series BMW.
A bill signed into law in November made prostitution a misdemeanor crime regardless of where it occurs. Previously, indoor prostitution was allowed in Rhode Island because of a legal loophole inadvertently introduced by the legislature in 1980.
The alleged johns face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. The women arrested for prostitution face six months in prison and $1,000 fine.
The state police said the women arrested for prostitution were:
Katelynn Pegg, 18, of 8 Albro Ave., Taunton, Mass.
Charlenne Lavasseur, 48, of 11 Gail Ave., Cranston
Christine Aurelio, 29, of 464 Buchanan St., Pawtucket
Nicole Moyniham, 22, of 187 Cottage St., Pawtucket
Jessica Neves, 22, of 55 Wannisett Ave., East Providence
“Jane Doe,“ 17
The state police said the men arrested for procurement of sexual conduct for a fee were:
Antonio Lima, 59, of 39 Willard Ave., Seekonk, Mass.
Ahmed Farhane, 33, of 136 George St., Pawtucket
Steven Jobe, 54, of 152 Bayard St., Providence
Robert McVey, 56, of 140 Kettle Pond Drive, South Kingstown
Robert Sormanti, 47, 31 Todd St., Warwick
Kennth Stiles, 47, of 29 Judge St., Fall River, Mass.
William Lee, 43, of 5 Cecile St., Lincoln
Daniel Fleming, 38, of 62 Lawn Ave., Warwick