Local News

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

Posted March 15, 2013 12:17 p.m. EDT
Updated August 15, 2017 12:22 p.m. EDT

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."