Athens, OH

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Athens is a city that serves as the county seat of Athens County, Ohio. Its population was approximately 24,000 at the 2020 census. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and throughout the region . This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in September, 2016, two Athens County residents were arrested and charged in connection to an alleged prostitution and human trafficking operation involving the paid sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Demand reduction tactics used in the city include sex buyer arrests, the public disclosure of sex buyer identities, and employment loss. For example, in October, 2016, a 69-year-old man man was accused of having paid with drugs for access to sexually abuse a 16 year old girl. The man’s identity was publicly disclosed.

In early November, 2022, it was announced that an Athens High School teacher and coach was among those arrested in a joint human trafficking sting operation conducted by the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to a post by the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, several individuals from around Ohio and across the country responded to online ads to meet women and children to pay to engage in various sexual acts with them.Within a week of the school district being notified of the arrest, the man resigned from his position with Athens City Schools. The arrest had been made in the Hocking Hills area of Logan, OH. The Athens teacher was charged with engaging in prostitution, a first-degree misdemeanor. He posted bail of $1,000 and was released from Southeast Ohio Regional Jail. According to the Athens City School Superintendent’s Office, the man had been a teacher for 10 years at Athens High School teacher and was the former girls basketball coach. He was also listed as the president of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Southeast District Board Members. Upon notification by police, the teacher was immediately placed on suspension by the Athens City School District, in accordance with Ohio Revised Code (ORC 3319.40). That code requires that any teacher charged with solicitation (ORC 2907.24) be immediately placed on suspension and also that the conduct be reported to the Ohio Department of Education. Both actions were taken, and the teacher was initially placed on paid leave. The school district also conducted its own investigation of the prostitution allegations.  The school district released the following statement:

 “The Athens City School District has been notified that a teacher at Athens High School was arrested over the weekend and charged with solicitation. The members of the Athens City School District Board of Education and Administration condemn human trafficking in any form and are very disappointed to learn that one of our own employees may have supported such an egregious practice. While we cannot comment specifically on our investigation, please be aware that the teacher in question has been placed on paid leave at this time and has been directed not to have any contact with students or staff and will not be permitted on any school property until this matter is resolved. My office will cooperate with the Hocking County Prosecutor’s Office and the Southeast Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force in completing our investigation and reaching a conclusion to this matter as quickly as possible.”

In late November, 2022, it was announced that the Hocking County Municipal Court had dismissed the misdemeanor charges of engaging in prostitution during a pretrial hearing.  As part of the case dismissal, the man was ordered to pay court costs.

Key Partners

  • Athens City School District
  • Hocking County Sheriff’s Office
  • Hocking County Municipal Court
  • Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation


Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related CSAM in the Area:

State Ohio
Type City
Population 23849
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