Allen County, OH

Tactics Used

Buyer Arrests
Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Allen County is a county located in western Ohio that has a population of approximately 102,000 residents. Its county seat is Lima, OH. Local residents and businesses have reported instances of prostitution and sex trafficking being significant issues for decades. For example, in 1959, a Lima man was arrested after allegedly luring, transporting, and sex trafficking a 16-year-old girl. According to reports, the man had transported the girl from Florence, AL to Lima, OH for purposes of sex trafficking her at a known brothel in the city.

Due to the prevalence of prostitution-related activity in the county, the Allen County Sheriff’s Office has worked with municipal police departments to conduct periodic street-level and web-based reverse stings to identify and apprehend sex buyers. For example, a street-level reverse sting operation conducted in 2011 by the sheriff’s office resulted in the arrest of the now former Ottawa city mayor at a Lima motel. The sex buyer plead no contest to the charge of soliciting prostitution, a third-degree misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, a 20 day suspension from employment, and was fined $250. The former mayor later submitted an official letter of resignation as a result of his arrest. However, in 2014, the former mayor was arrested again for the same offense of soliciting prostitution. The investigation was a web-based operation targeting sex buyers, led by the Allen County Sheriff’s Office in coordination with the Lima Police Department and the FBI. Operations such as these have resulted in approximately 70 sex buyer arrests annually by county officials. The identities of arrested sex buyers are often released by police to the local media.

In 2018, a former Allen County Sheriff was accused of asking and taking bribes from drug dealers, people arrested in prostitution stings, suspected gamblers, and others. According to the indictment, the offender extorted/solicited nearly $100,000 from five people between 2012 and 2016. The former sheriff resigned in 2017, less than four months after FBI agents raided his office and removed files and documents. A 21-month investigation by the Cleveland office of the FBI resulted in a six-count indictment against the former Allen County Sheriff in 2018. In 2019, he was sentenced to a 136-month term in federal prison (approximately 11 years). He was also ordered to pay restitution to his victims totaling $606,221.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Employment Loss:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Ohio
Type County
Population 102351
Location
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