Five Charged after Online Prostitution Sting

Two More Face Arraignment on Future Dates


BOSTON, Feb. 5, 2016—Five men were arraigned today after they allegedly contacted Boston Police detectives in an online prostitution sting, and two more face arraignment at a later date, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans and Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

The following men were arrested yesterday on charges of seeking to engage in sex for a fee and arraigned today in the Boston Municipal Court:

  1. CHRISTOPHER OTERO (D.O.B. 7/1/91) of Revere;
  2. HARVEY SHAPIRO (D.O.B. 12/31/52) of Needham;
  3. ROBERT P. SMITH (D.O.B. 2/18/40) of Back Bay;
  4. JOSHUA STERNSTEIN (D.O.B. 5/14/83) of Boston; and
  5. BRAD WATKINS (D.O.B. 9/26/76) of Dorchester

A 38-year-old Andover man and a 37-year-old Westborough man were also arrested yesterday and appeared in court today. At their request and over prosecutors’ objections, Judge Thomas Horgan continued their arraignments to March 18 and March 23, respectively.

In each case, the defendants allegedly responded to an online advertisement posted by detectives assigned to the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit and negotiated sexual conduct in exchange for money. The men were placed under arrest at the locations where they had agreed through phone calls or text messages to meet the undercover detectives.

Under Massachusetts’ 2011 human trafficking legislation, offering to pay another person for sexual conduct is punishable by up to two and a half years in a house of correction and a fine of $1,000 to $5,000. Anyone with information on or concerns about human trafficking can call the Polaris Project’s national human trafficking resource center hotline at 888-373-7888 or send a text to “BeFree” (233733).





All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.