PITTSTON — District Judge Andrew Barilla agreed Wednesday to postpone hearings for four men accused of running a prostitution ring.
County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Roberts asked the judge for the continuance because the fourth man, Randy Coleman, is in Oklahoma, where he was captured and waits for extradition back to the county.
Roberts told the judge the prosecution would like to have witnesses give testimony only once and it would be better to hold the hearing with all defendants present.
Another defendant, Gregory Boone, had requested an attorney from the Public Defender’s Office, but he had not secured counsel as of Wednesday because he needs a conflict defender, or a private attorney hired by the county when there is a conflict of interest.
Anthony and Gregory Boone, Jose Alvelo and Coleman are all charged with the same felony counts of promoting prostitution, conspiracy and a lesser charge of corruption of minors.
The pre-trial hearing has been rescheduled for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 5 before Judge Barilla.
According to a police affidavit, the four men collaborated to recruit women and one 16-year-old girl, set up “calls” with potential clients using the website www.backpage.com and drive to hotel rooms in Moosic, Pittston Township, Plains Township and Tunkhannock. The young women had been promised they could earn as much as $1,000 in an evening, police said.
Lorraine Alvelo sat in the courtroom behind her son, Jose. She quietly insisted that he is innocent of the crimes.
She said he’s a good kid who spends most of his time playing video games.
Alvelo said her son, 19, doesn’t drink or take drugs, and she’s not sure how he got mixed up with the other men convicted of the crimes.
“This whole thing, my son had nothing to do with this. He’s a good kid,” Alvelo said.