Bail hearing delayed in Pittsfield prostitution ring

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PITTSFIELD — Two Berkshire men accused of facilitating a prostitution ring will have to wait another month to learn whether they will have bail set in their cases.

Randy Lambach, 45, of Becket, and Joseph E. Van Wert, 65, of Pittsfield, were scheduled to have dangerousness hearings in their cases Wednesday in Central Berkshire District Court.

But the hearings have been pushed back to Dec. 27 to allow time for a competency evaluation for Lambach.

Lambach is accused of seeking out women with a drug addiction, placing photos of them in online classified ads for sexual services, making arrangements with the customers and transporting the women to and from their appointments.

Lambach allegedly would keep most of the money the women earned and threatened to turn them in to police if they stopped working for him, according to witness testimony.

The investigation showed that Van Wert's apartment was used for people to have sex with the women alleged to have been trafficked, and he was paid in cash and drugs for the use of his home, which is in a senior housing complex. Van Wert also allegedly paid for sex with the women.

Lambach has pleaded not guilty to four counts of human trafficking. Van Wert has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit human trafficking, deriving support from prostitution, maintaining a house of prostitution and sexual conduct for a fee.

In a separate but related case, George T. Shaw, 50, of Lee, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual conduct for a fee for allegedly paying three women involved in the ring for sexual services.

Shaw is due back in court on Jan. 31, 2018, for a pretrial hearing.

Reach Bob Dunn at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.




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