Local News

Charges dismissed for three of six arrested in Wake Forest prostitution sting

Posted March 15, 2013
Updated August 15

EDITOR'S NOTE: Charges were dropped against Christopher Burell Shella, Kevin Scott Konarzewski and Robert Hancock. All three men had their criminal records expunged.

Wake Forest police arrested six men Wednesday during an undercover prostitution sting at a local hotel, including a world poker champion and a former attorney for Duke University lacrosse accuser Crystal Mangum.

The men responded to an advertisement on a website often used by prostitutes, police said.

Each man was charged with prostitution and attempted crimes against nature and received a $1,000 secured bond. Their first court appearances will be April 18:

  • Kevin Scott Konarzewski, 425 Barnhill Lane, Wake Forest – president of Complete Inventory Services
  • Barrett Lee Bennett, 4800 University Drive, Apt. 9C, Durham
  • Christopher Burell Shella, 2305 Vintage Hill Drive, Durham – managing director of Shella, Harris & Aus P.C. and former attorney for Mangum
  • Gregory Paul Raymer, 2622 Village Manor Way, Raleigh – professional poker player, best known for winning the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event
  • Robert Hancock, 9828 San Remo Place, Wake Forest – vice president of sales and marketing at MobileSmith
  • Gerald Barham, 7941 Bud Morris Road, Wake Forest

Police said they conducted the operation "as a pre-emptive measure to combat the nationwide growing trend of prostitution."

“The locations prostitutes choose for this type of criminal activity vary and seldom remain the same for more than a couple of days at a time, which makes enforcement difficult,” Police Chief Jeffrey Leonard said in a statement.

“In this instance, we conducted the operation at a local hotel with its full cooperation," Leonard added, without identifying the hotel. "We are not aware of this type of criminal activity ever occurring at the hotel. Our officers selected the hotel for the undercover operation at random."

Leonard stressed that no hotel guests were at risk during the operation and no prostitutes were on the hotel premises.

Raymer's attorney issued a statement Friday afternoon, saying, "Mr. Raymer is very sorry for this lapse in judgment. He regrets deeply the pain he has caused his family, friends and fans. Mr. Raymer is grateful for the many expressions of support he has received."


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  • UNCRules123 Mar 25, 2013

    I agree with iloveyourpost. This is a little too harsh. If they're gonna lock someone in a pillory and throw tomatoes at them, why not start with real criminals, or, at least, convicted drunk drivers? At least these six look like they pay taxes.

  • didisaythat Mar 21, 2013

    Lightfoot,you are entitled to your oppinion, but you are wrong on the bait car criticizm. I wonder if people really know what entrapment is? When you have a rash of cars being stolen and set a bait car out and a few get arrested, then the reports of stolen cars go down..I think it worked, but that is just my opinion.

  • iloveyourepost Mar 21, 2013

    So I guess that Wake Forest is a better place to live now when those six terrible men have been taken off the street and been humiliated. Personally I would rather see killers, drug dealers, thieves, rapists and child molesters getting caught in stings and arrested.

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 18, 2013

    "When will people learn that this is illegal here. If they must, go to Europe." - lwe1967

    Or take a cheaper trip to Nevada. Take in a show and a, uh, what rhymes with "show"? :)

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 18, 2013

    Entrapping people in victim-less crimes with a fake prostitution scam? What a waste of time, taxpayer money, and resources. There's not enough real crime out there for them to fight, so they create their own virtual crimes to entice people in? Legalize prostitution and regulate/tax it. Cops should be out catching REAL criminals, not trying to create their own via prostitute sting operations.

    The same goes toward those bait car scams. They can't catch the real car thieves, so they setup a bait car to entice people to steal it so they can make an arrest. Another pathetic waste of money.

  • jrbrock Mar 18, 2013

    Time to cut the police budget, they obviously have too much money and free time dreaming up garbage like this! How many textbooks could this "sting" money have purchased?

    Everybody knows we have real problems in this country. Cops make themselves look like imbeciles when they do something like this and then brag about it as if they are cleaning up the streets like real cops.

  • ginufine3011 Mar 15, 2013

    If you know this before you get to these stores, why not call 911 and tell them? You can't expect them to post an officer at EVERY corner...that will never happen..and hey they are probably handling another call that you have no idea about so it will take time for them to respond...

    The police already know the spots, they are there everyday...the same ones. I'm not about to babysit these officers, for such an easy target, and a small enough area for a handful officers to do something about it.

  • heelsgirl05 Mar 15, 2013

    "Nationwide growing trend of prostitution." Really? It's the world's OLDEST profession. It's been around a long time and is not going away.

  • brassy Mar 15, 2013

    Well, at least they're doing something useful instead of sitting on Heritage Lake Rd with radar guns.

  • johnny2times Mar 15, 2013

    The same way they set this prostitution sting up, why they want set up the drug dealers that hang around these corner stores, on Martin St, Bragg St, Carver St,(just to name a few) every single day? I drive cabs for the City of Raleigh, and when I pull up to the stores with a customer in my cab, drug dealers are running to the car, breaking their necks to sell their drugs. Police can't tell me they have a hard time catching these drug dealers, when they are making it obvious, to what they are doing.

    March 15, 2013 5:31 p.m.

    Well if you know this before you get to these stores, why not call 911 and tell them? You can't expect them to post an officer at EVERY corner...that will never happen..and hey they are probably handling another call that you have no idea about so it will take time for them to respond...