Schwager enters ARD program on prostitution charge

·2 min read

Jul. 30—WILKES-BARRE — The former president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association has been accepted into the ARD program on the back of a charge of patronizing a prostitution.

David Eric Schwager, 58, was charged in April with a third-degree misdemeanor charge of patronizing prostitutes after he reported to Luzerne County detectives that he had had a sexual encounter with alleged prostitute Emily Ann Merth. Schwager came forward, accusing Merth of recording their encounter and threatening to release the video unless he paid up.

Schwager appeared before Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. on Thursday for a dispositional hearing. Sklarosky granted a motion allowing Schwager to be entered into the ARD program.

ARD, or accelerated rehabilitative disposition, is a program which allows first-time offenders to enter into a treatment program. The charge can be expunged upon completion of the program.

According to Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce, Schwager will be required to enroll in the program for a year, during which time he will have to complete 30 hours of community service.

According to court records, Merth is still locked up, currently in the Lehigh County Jail, where she's being held on charges of both theft by extortion and attempted theft by extortion. Additional charges against her, including a count of promoting prostitution, were withdrawn during a June court appearance.

The investigation began after Schwager told detectives he noticed Merth recording the encounter with a mobile device. According to him, he later received a text from her saying that she would post the video "everywhere" unless he paid her $1,000.

Schwager told Merth to stop threatening to release the video and she lowered her demand to $700. Schwager made arrangements to drive to the residence to bring Merth the money.

As Schwager returned to the residence, detectives set up surveillance of the home and allegedly witnessed Merth exit the home and approach Schwager's vehicle.

Merth's next court date in the case is on Aug. 26, before Sklarosky. She is also facing robbery and burglary charges out of York County, and is serving a 23-month sentence out of Lehigh County on other prostitution charges.

Schwager resigned his position as PBA president when he was charged, and was also placed on administrative leave from his position as an assistant solicitor for Luzerne County.

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