Assault allegations at Ramada Inn

NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA – September 7, 2009 "Possibility of a prostitution activity going on inside the hotel," said Captain John Darby of the Special Victims Unit.

A 22-year-old woman from Mount Laurel, New Jersey and a 23-year-old Philadelphia woman are two victims police say were sexually assaulted by 49-year-old John Lee.

But police say 9 other women were brought from the Roosevelt Boulevard Ramada, some to act as witnesses in this investigation. The victims told police they were forced to stay with Lee since last Thursday.

"They were not free to leave. They might not have been physically restrained but intimidated into not leaving that location."

Among the charges against Lee are multiple counts of rape, and aggravated sexual assault, also drug charges for the cocaine, heroine, marijuana, and prescription pills that turned up after authorities searched four hotel rooms.

Another man was investigated but not charged. Philadelphia police say other women brought the victims to this hotel and could have linked up through the internet.

"There might have been some use of Craigslist."

As for the possible prostitution ring there are still few answers.

"This idea of a prostitution operation it's a complex situation and subject to review by the citywide vice unit."

Darby says this is just the beginning. Federal authorities have been notified of the investigation. We're told the Ramada is cooperating.

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