SHAMOKIN — Prostitution charges against a Yardley woman will not go forward after a district judge ruled there was not enough evidence to proceed to court.
Beth Ann Smith, 32, faced two felony charges of prostitution. Her attorney, Joel Wiest, of Sunbury, said she was the victim of sex trafficking.
Smith appeared before Shamokin District Judge John Gembic on Tuesday morning. Gembic dismissed the charges after concluding there was not enough evidence Smith was working as a prostitute.
The case began in May when Shamokin police arrested a married Shamokin couple and a Sunbury resident in connection to what police said was a prostitution ring in the city.
James E. Wright III, 38, and his wife, Brooke Wright, 40, both of East Dewart Street in Shamokin, face felony counts of promoting prostitution, felony charges of criminal conspiracy and criminal use of a communication facility, and a misdemeanor charge of corruption of minors.
Shamokin police also say Cory E. Hoover, 41, 11th Street in Sunbury, faces charges of promoting prostitution and patronizing prostitutes along with felonies of corruption of minors and criminal use of a communication facility.
All three are awaiting a preliminary arraignment on the charges, according to court documents.
According to court documents, Smith called police saying she was being forced to have sex with a man for money at the Shamokin house.
Officers spoke with Smith, who told police she was being “pimped out” to a male named Cory, police said. Smith told police the Wrights picked her up at a hospital in Norristown and brought her to their residence, officers said. Smith said she received a text from Brooke Wright telling her to get cleaned up and take a shower and James Wright texted her asking her if she wanted to “make some money,” police said.
When the couple returned with Hoover, Smith and Hoover had sex, and Smith was given $300, which she turned over to the Wrights, police said. Smith said she agreed to have sex because she wanted to have a place to live, police said.
On Tuesday, Wiest represented Smith in front of Gembic.
“My client is obviously very happy with the judge’s ruling in this case,” he said. “This decision gives a clear notice that human trafficking will not be tolerated in our area. We are also both very grateful for the services provided to my client by Transitions.”