Police: Ex-Nova Dean Customer of Prostitution Ring

Police investigating a prostitution ring in Chester County relied on two customers for information, one of whom was Mark A. Sargent—dean of Villanova University School of Law, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Police raided the Kennett Township home on November 25, 2008 after a six-week surveillance of the house, the paper reported.

Between Noon and 1 p.m., Sargent was at the home and paid a woman, Cara Martin, 32, $170 for 35 minutes of pleasure, according to a police report.  Sargent saw an ad on Craigslist, was curious and responded, the report noted. 

Sargent was not charged, but did resign as dean Monday for personal and medical reasons.

Villanova University issued the following statement:

"On Monday, June 29, citing personal and medical reasons, Mark Sargent resigned as Dean of the Villanova University School of Law. At that same time, Mr. Sargent informed University officials of his connection with a law enforcement investigation. The University accepted his resignation; Mr. Sargent will not be returning to the faculty."

The owner of the home, Stephen A. Clark, 62, was arrested November 26 and charged with promoting prostitution and conspiracy.

Martin and Lacy Welsh, 20, were also arrested and charged with prostitution, according to the paper.

Clark claimed Sargent was given special treatment and wasn't charged because he was a “celebrity perp.”

“If you watch the taped interview, the police are almost apologetic with this guy,” Clark told the paper. “They told him, ‘You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,’ and they agreed to contact him at his office, not his home.”

But Sargent was not given a free pass, according to Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll. Customers are not always charged or identified in prostitution busts since investigators use them to build their cases, Carroll said.

“Unless we have someone on the inside, there’s no way to prove that sex was exchanged for money,” Carroll told the paper.

Both witnesses were treated the same, Carroll said, and would have testified if the case went to trial (Clark accepted a plea bargain).

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