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Parker County has a population of approximately 150,ooo residents and is located in north-central Texas. It is included in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat is the city of Weatherford. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and its ancillary crimes has resulted in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. The Parker County Sheriff’s Office has conducted prostitution investigations in response to increases in residential complaints about suspected commercial sex activity and child endangerment in their communities. For example, in 2010, nine people were arrested by deputies from the PCSO for prostitution-related charges after residents expressed concerns about an increase in commercial sex activity at a local Weatherford hotel. Residents also reported to deputies that children were being brought to the hotel by individuals engaging in commercial sex, resulting in child endangerment. According to reports, two infants, a 10-month-old and a 1-year-old, were brought to the hotel by one of the five arrested prostituted women and a 25-year-old man. The man allegedly drove the woman, her child, and his child to the hotel and waited in the car with the infants while the woman was inside. Deputies did not disclose whether the male drive was the woman’s sex trafficker/pimp. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant. The children were handed over to child protective services (CPS). In addition, two other men were arrested, one for an outstanding warrant and another for prostitution. It was not clear from reports whether the man arrested for prostitution was a sex buyer or a prostituted person. Authorities with the Weatherford/Parker County Special Crimes Unit opened the investigation after receiving online solicitation information and learning that there were children involved. In January, 2013, five people, including two men that investigators believe to be pimps, were arrested on charges stemming from a prostitution sting in Weatherford. Law enforcment officers with the Weatherford-Parker County Special Crimes Unit targeted online ads on Backpage.com and FWWeekly.com advertising services provided in the west Fort Worth area. Several suspected “escorts” and their facilitators showed up to an undisclosed location in Weatherford, where the men and women were arrested. All those arrested were in possession of drug paraphernalia, in addition to the suspect who had heroin in his possession.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and demand reduction tactics used in the county include the public disclosure of sex buyer identities. For example, a former John Peter Smith Hospital administrator was convicted by a Parker County jury of murdering two Arlington women in a Willow Park bank parking lot in 2017. The jury convicted the man of capital murder for shooting the two young women he had met at the bank because they were extorting him for trying to hire prostituted women. Since the death penalty was not being sought by the prosecution, the man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The DA argued that the man killed the women to keep them quiet and keep them from coming back to him for more money. The day before the murders, the man used a website known for illicit activities like prostitution, to solicit two women to come to his office at JPS to have sex with him. Instead, the two women came to his office, confirmed that the man wanted to have sex with them, and told him that if he didn’t pay them a large sum of money, they would tell his supervisor and his wife that “he was trying to hire prostitutes.” The man then took the two women to three different Fort Worth banks and withdrew $6,600, which he gave to them. The next day, according to the testimony, the three women reached out to the man again and demanded that he pay them more money for their silence. The man met them in the bank parking lot and, after a brief meeting in his car, shot both women in the head.
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://www.weatherforddemocrat.com/gallery/news/two-arrested-in-east-parker-county-prostitution-sting/article (2010)
- https://www.cbsnews.com/dfw/news/parker-county-sex-offender-charged-with-pimping/ (2012)
- https://www.weatherforddemocrat.com/gallery/news/five-arrested-in-prostitution-sting/article (2013)
- https://www.weatherforddemocrat.com/gallery/news/volunteer-training-aims-to-prevent-minor-sex-trafficking/article (2013)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaging in Commercial Sex:
- 9 arrested, 2 babies in state custody after prostitution bust at Weatherford hotel (2010)
- https://www.cbs19.tv/article/news/sex-trade-booms-in-east-texas/501-263678186 (2015)
- ‘This is not a crime,’ lawyer says at trial of ex-JPS official accused of killing 2 women (2022)
- https://www.oxygen.com/crime-news/christopher-wall-on-trial-ashley-pohorence-krista-mclellan-murders (2022)
- https://www.community-news.com/stories/former-jps-administrator-convicted-of-capital-murder,4671 (2022)