Salem man pleads guilty to sex trafficking charge after interaction with undercover deputy

By Heather Butterworth - Digital Content Producer
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SALEM, Va. - A Salem man, who believed he was enticing a 15-year-old female to engage in prostitution while actually communicating online with an undercover Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy, pleaded guilty to a federal sex-trafficking charge.   

Shawn Paul Paisley, 48, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty this week to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

At sentencing, Paisley faces a possible statutory maximum sentence of up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. He also faces a mandatory minimum term of supervised release of five years and a maximum term of life.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 25.

In August 2016, while posing as a 15-year-old female, a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a Craigslist advertisement posted by Paisley seeking a “personal/casual” encounter. Paisley gave the “girl” a cell phone number and the two exchanged text messages. During the course of their text message exchanges, Paisley told the “girl” that he ran an escort service and that his girls made good money. Paisley provided standard prices for the services the escorts offered and the two arranged to meet in order for the “girl” to perform oral sex on Paisley. 

Paisley left his home in Salem and drove to Franklin County to meet the “girl.” When Paisley arrived in Franklin County, he was arrested. 

Paisley admitted that he helped run an escort service, which involved recruiting females to engage in sex for pay. He helped arrange for encounters between recruited female prostitutes and the customers and took a portion of the fees paid for making the arrangements.

Paisley recalls that at least two females he previously helped recruit were 17-years-old. 
 

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