Police say they have broken up a Highlandtown male prostitution ring, which supplied school-age boys to adult men who dialed 444-PHIL.
The alleged ring leader, Phillip Anthony Damario, 40, of the 1700 block of Swansea Road, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing today in Eastside District Court on East North Avenue, police said.
Damario is charged with two counts of second-degree sex offense and one count of knowingly receiving the earnings of a prostitute, police said.
Sources close to the investigation alleged that some of the boys were required to earn at least $200 per day and turn over 10 to 20 percent of their earnings to Damario.
The ring advertised its services in flyers and on business cards distributed in Highlandtown, sources said.
At one time, there were 14 boys, ages 12 to 16, who were part of the ring, sources said.
On Oct. 8, Damario was arrested after police obtained a search and seizure warrant for his two-story rowhouse on Swansea Road. Police said he tried to flee out the back door but was caught.
Sources said the operation allegedly began around March and that Damario allegedly arranged for the boys to meet with adults and sometimes drove the youths to the rendezvous.
The young prostitutes worked along Patterson Park and Eastern avenues and Conkling Street, sources said.