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Pittsburgh man sentenced in underage prostitution sting

A Pittsburgh man was sentenced Tuesday, Nov. 5, after pleading guilty to a felony charge of unlawful contact with a minor.

Mark Joseph Paliotta, 49, was sentenced in Common Pleas Court in accordance with a plea agreement reached after a Nov. 4, 2021, incident in which he went to a hotel in Cranberry Township to meet an underage prostitute who turned out to be an undercover township police officer.

As part of his sentence, Paliotta was ordered to serve 48 months of probation. He also was ordered to follow the county probation office’s rules for sexual offenders and report to state police for the next 25 years as a Tier 2 offender under Megan’s Law.

Paliotta responded to an online ad posted to a prostitution and trafficking website offering “sexual activities in exchange for money,” police said in an affidavit accompanying the charges filed in January 2022.

Police said two agents told Paliotta they were 15-year-old girls and offered sex for $200.

He was given a room number at a hotel and was told two adult prostitutes would vet him before he could meet with the 15-year-old. Upon seeing the undercover agent enter the room, Paliotta initially offered $100 to see them nude, according to police.

Police said Paliotta started acting suspicious, dropped $100 on a table and left the room.

He was apprehended in the hallway and found in possession of the cellular device used to arrange the meeting, two condoms, an erectile enhancement pill and cash, police said.

Township police worked with the state Attorney General’s office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the operation.

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