8 women face solicitation charges in prostitution arrests

January 25, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Eight area women are feeling the impact of a $480,000 grant given to the Portsmouth Police Department that has resulted in increased officer presence in the area. Among the crimes Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said the department would target was prostitution and now the Portsmouth Police Department, with the assistance of the New Boston Police Department, have conducted an operation which led to the arrest of eight women related to prostitution.

The Department, using the federal grant funding, conducted the operation due to the continuing problem that plagues Portsmouth’s east end.

Arrested were Peggy Erks, 22; Jennifer Shepherd, 34; Ebony Underwood, 32; Mechelle Smith, 29; Chrissy Parsons, 29; Christie Stapleton, 24 and Carol King, 32, all of Portsmouth as well as Ashley Maynard-Apel, 33, of West Portsmouth. All are charged with one count of solicitation. King faces an additional charge of possession of drug abuse instruments.

All of the solicitation charges are a Misdemeanors of the Third Degree and if found guilty, each woman could face a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, in addition to any court cost. King also faces an additional 90 days in jail and $750 in fines for the drug abuse instrument charge.

Ware said the Portsmouth Police Department is committed to reducing these crimes and plans additional operations in the future in order to curb prostitution activity.

“The Department wishes to thank the Village of New Boston Police Department and those citizens who assisted us,” Ware said. “The contact person concerning these arrests is Detective Jim Charles. We ask that anyone with information on these, or any other crimes, call the Police Department at 740-353-4101.”

Ware said callers can remain anonymous and all information is kept confidential.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com.