Allen County, OH

Tactics Used

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

Allen County is located in Western Ohio. The city of Lima serves as the county seat.  Local residents and businesses have reported high levels of prostitution activity for decades. There is also evidence of local sex trafficking.  For example, in 2012 the skeletal remains of a 14-year-old runaway, who went missing in 1999, were found after the home where she was last seen was demolished.  The home in Lima was owned by a suspect in the girl’s disappearance; the man had killed himself in 2002 while in prison for the rape of a 12-year-old girl.  Police said the man had also been linked to human trafficking, and had been arrested in 2001 and charged with multiple counts of rape and child pornography involving local girls.

Other prostitution-related crimes include those committed by the Allen County Sheriff, who in later 2018 was indicted on federal bribery charges in federal court on several counts of extortion and soliciting bribes related to money taken while in office. He pleaded guilty to soliciting bribes and extortion and one count of making a false statements.  Included in the indictment was an unidentified person who operated a used car business and was arrested during a prostitution sting in August, 2015. The individual gave the Sheriff a $7,000 loan, and the Sheriff later met with prosecutors and law enforcement officials and demanded the Lima City Attorney’s Office drop the charges, which later occurred. Another unidentified person, who also operated a used car business, gave the Sheriff a $10,000 cash loan and the two discussed this person working as an informant in November, 2015. The next day the man was arrested in a prostitution sting, but was told “not to worry about the arrest.”

To address crimes related to prostitution and sex trafficking, 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. The sweeps have resulted in up to 70 prostitution-related arrests in the city in a single year. Once charged, johns may have their names and other identifying information released to the local media. Notable arrests in Lima, for example, have included a city pastor, local coach, and the mayor of Ottawa, Ohio.



Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings and Shaming:

Web-Based Reverse Stings and Shaming:


Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area: (2019)


Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:





State Ohio
Type County
Population 103198
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