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Scranton Police: Two DPW workers solicited prostitute

SCRANTON – An off-duty sergeant spotted a Department of Public Works employee with an alleged prostitute on Black Friday, according to a criminal complaint.

While hanging his Christmas decorations, Detective Sgt. Tim Harding allegedly spotted the suspicious vehicle occupied by Robert Pope, 63, of Harrison Avenue, Scranton, and a partially undressed Brittany Wuchter, 19, listed as homeless, at about 3:12 p.m. on Nov. 25. The two allegedly told Harding that Pope was looking for a place to talk to Wuchter about “giving her a job with the City (sic) of Scranton.”

Wuchter allegedly told responding officer Sgt. Mike Mayer that she was given $30 in exchange for sexual favors performed with Pope. Pope “was adamant that was not the case,” and later admitted to paying $20 for oral sex.

Pope told police that he was introduced to Wuchter by Charles Matis, “a fellow employee of Mr. Pope at DPW.” Matis allegedly called Pope from a private garage along Joseph Avenue, Scranton, with promises of a “nice girl who would ‘take care’ of him,” according to the complaint.

When police asked Pope why he drove to a secluded wooded area and not his home or a garage to discuss the potential employment opportunity, he did not answer.

Wuchter told police that she was picked up by Matis on Friday afternoon while she was walking along Capouse Avenue. After she allegedly performed oral sex on him in exchange for $20, Matis “made a phone call… and arranged another ‘date’ for her.”

Pope and Wuchter “exchanged names” inside his truck at the Joseph Avenue garage. They drove to the secluded area, and she “was about to perform her end of the deal when Det. Sgt. Harding arrived.”

When interviewed by police, Matis told officers that Wuchter was hitchhiking at about 2 p.m.

“She was a good looking girl. Why wouldn’t I give her a ride?” Matis allegedly said in a police interview. He told police that he only paid $10 in exchange for oral sex.

Police searched Wuchter’s Hello Kitty purse and removed two $20 bills and 17 condoms as evidence.

Pope was arraigned Nov. 25 on one count of patronizing prostitutes and released on $5,000 unsecured bail. Wuchter was arraigned Nov. 25 on one count of prostitution and released on $5,000 unsecured bail. All charges are pending, and preliminary hearings are tentatively set for Dec. 5.

As of Saturday afternoon, no charges were filed against Matis. However, criminal complaints indicate that he will also face one count of patronizing prostitutes.

DPW Director Jeff Brazil said Wednesday morning that both Matis and Pope were not on the clock Friday afternoon and are still employed by the city of Scranton. They have not been placed on any form of administrative leave, and the department is performing an internal investigation, Brazil added.

First reported

First reported at 11:20 a.m. on Nov. 30. Get news each day at golackawanna.com.

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