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2 charged in ‘horrible’ Pennsylvania human trafficking case

November 28, 2017

This undated photo provided by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General shows Kenneth Crowell. Barry Schiff and Crowell are accused in what Pennsylvania's attorney general on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, described as a "horrible" case of human trafficking that employed death threats and opioids to compel women to work as prostitutes. (Pennsylvania Office Of Attorney General via AP)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Two men are accused in what Pennsylvania’s attorney general on Tuesday described as a “horrible” case of human trafficking that employed death threats and opioids to compel women to work as prostitutes.

Authorities said they charged 34-year-old Kenneth James Crowell and 50-year-old Barry Charles “Bear” Schiff with trafficking in individuals, involuntary servitude, prostitution and other offenses.

“This is a horrible case where women were lured into prostitution by the false premise of easy money,” said state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat. “When the victims tried to leave, these criminals used violence and threats of violence to keep them working as prostitutes against their will.”

Crowell and Schiff are accused of forcing six women to work as prostitutes in between 2014 and last month, including in York, Lancaster and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania and in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Shapiro’s office said both men are in custody, and online court records did not list defense lawyers for them.

A grand jury report described harrowing methods of control, including claims that Crowell strangled a woman on several occasions, once causing her to black out.

It says Schiff slammed another woman’s head into a bucket containing bleach and broken glass when she refused to have sex with him, leaving her with permanent scars and injuries.

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