Lehigh Valley

Suspect in prostitution bust charged with child abuse

26-year-old accused of punching daughter in 2016

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A woman arrested in Allentown last week on prostitution charges is also facing accusastions in a three-year-old child abuse case.

Allentown police arrested Lisette M. Mercado at a Super 8 motel last Friday during a prostitution sting. Authorities discovered an arrest warrant issued by the Easton Police Department in March 2016 against the 26-year-old, who was accused of drunkenly punching her 2-year-old daughter in the face.

A member of the Allentown Police Department’s vice unit arranged a meeting with a woman found on a website used exclusively for prostitution ads, according to court records. Investigators said the ad entitled “Southern Rican Gurl in Town” included photos of a “provocatively” dressed woman and a “menu” of sex acts, according to records.

After a text message exchange, the woman arranged to meet at the Super 8 motel in the 1000 block of Airport Road. The woman, later identified as Mercado, offered up her services for $150 and was detained after the officer handed over the money.

Police said she had the phone used to set up the date. Her outstanding arrest warrant was discovered after she was taken in to custody.

In March 2016, Easton police received a report of possible child abuse involving Mercado from a caseworker with the Northampton County Division of Children, Youth and Families. Investigators said the alleged abuse happened in Mercado’s former home in the first block of North 13th Street on Feb. 5, 2016.

The victim’s aunt told investigators that a drunken Mercado came home about 3:30 a.m. and allegedly started swinging at the 2-year-old, when she started crying. After Mercado stopped swinging, the victim’s aunt picked up the child and discovered swelling near the girl’s left eye. Family members took the child to the hospital for treatment.

District Judge Donna Butler arraigned Mercado late Friday night on a single misdemeanor count of promoting prostitution, setting bail at $3,000. On Monday, District Judge Richard Yetter arraigned her on single misdemeanor counts of simple assault and child endangerment, setting bail at $15,000.

Mercado, no confirmable address, failed to post bail and remains in Lehigh County Jail ahead of preliminary hearings later this month in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

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