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Woman had sex with teen up to six times a day and pimped him out for drug money, Penn. police say

Joleen Gambardella
Joleen Gambardella Luzerne County Correctional Facility

A Pennsylvania woman accused of getting a 15-year-old to have sex with her up to six times a day - and then prostituting him online to score drug money - is behind bars after two years on the run, the Citizens Voice reported.

Joleen Gambardella, the 36-year-old suspect, was arraigned Friday in Hazleton, Penn., on charges of endangering the welfare of a child, promoting prostitution, corruption of minors and criminal use of a communication facility, according to the paper.

Police say Gambardella began having sex with the then-15-year-old back in 2013, when he came to live with her in Ohio, the Times-Leader reported. The two would allegedly take pills and other drugs, and the teen told police he and Gambardella had sex as many as six times a day, the New York Post reported.

The teen also told police Gambardella got pregnant in 2014 but had an abortion in Michigan, according to the New York Post.

Eventually police say the two moved from Ohio to Hazleton, where Gambardella introduced the teen to heroin, the Times-Leader reported. Police say she posted a photo of the teen's genitals online and began offering him up for sex, according to the paper, with the goal to make money to buy more heroin.

One man eventually responded to the ad, but police said the teen "could not bring himself" to have sex with another male, according to the Citizens Voice.

Police issued a warrant for Gambardella's arrest in 2016 after interviewing a witness during an investigation into a stolen gun, the Standard Speaker reported. Officials posted her description online seeking help, saying she had immediately fled the area when she realized an arrest warrant had been issued.

Gambardella remains in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of a $10,000 bond, the Times-Leader reported.

Gambardella has a history of past arrests, including retail theft, forgery, impersonating a public servant, possession of drug paraphernalia and attempted prostitution, according to the Citizen Times.

Steve Anderson, a SVU detective for Modesto Police Department, and Debbie Johnson, of the Without Permission organization, discuss the red flags of human trafficking in a video made for parents.

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