|IT Based Tactics
Canon City is a community of about 17,400 residents, located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, southwest of Denver and Colorado Springs, located in Fremont County, CO. Prostitution and sex trafficking have historically been well-documented in the city and greater county area. Reports of robbery and violence against individuals engaging in commercial sex have been documented. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.
In effort to combat prostitution and sex trafficking activity in the city and surrounding areas, local law enforcement has implemented demand reduction tactics, targeting individuals seeking to purchase commercial sex in the area. Multiple web-based reverse sting operations have occurred in the city. These operations are often conducted in collaboration with other local law enforcement and federal agencies. In addition, the identities and images of arrested offenders are frequently released by law enforcement to local media outlets. For example, in 2007, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office in coordination with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Canon City Police Department conducted a web-based reverse sting operation targeting individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. The investigation resulted in the arrest of four men for Internet luring of a child, Internet sexual exploitation of a child, and promotion of obscenity to a minor. As a result of the arrest, one of the arrested sex buyers, was fired from his position as the Colorado Department of Corrections law librarian. While the offender was initially prohibited from having contact with minors, including his 9-year-old son, due to the nature of his crimes, the court allowed the offender to see his son under line-of-sight supervision by his ex-wife.
A similar operation conducted in Canon City in August 2004, resulted in the arrest of a 40-year-old 1st Class Sergeant who died by suicide as a result of his arrest in September 2004. The man had allegedly communicated with an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl online. Upon the sex buyer’s arrival to the predetermined location, he was arrested by undercover officers.
In May 2008, an associate professor of military science who worked at Seattle University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps was arrested in Canon City and charged with several crimes related to commercial sexual exploitation of children. The man had flown to Colorado to meet who he thought was an underage girl that he had been corresponding with online. However, the offender had actually been corresponding with a Colorado law enforcement team focused on internet crimes against children. According to police, the man was held in the Fremont County Detention Center while police investigate eight offenses, including soliciting for child prostitution, police said.
Sex buyers have also been arrested as a result of residential reports to local law enforcement. For example, in 2009, a 27-year-old Pueblo man was advised that he faced a possibility of five charges relating to an Internet Crimes Against Children sting. The offender was arrested by members of the Fremont County Combined Investigative Response team after Canon City police were alerted to the case by a concerned mother who contacted them after viewing suspicious e-mails on her daughter’s computer. The offender is believed to have traveled from Pueblo to Canon City to meet with a 14-year-old female for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. According to reports, the man faced possible felony charges of criminal attempt, enticement of a child, attempted sexual assault on a child, Internet luring of a child and Internet sexual exploitation of a child. He was arrested and transported to the Fremont County Detention Center on a $50,000 cash-only bond.
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- Soldier who killed self sought sex with teenager (2004)
- Soldier kills himself after child-sex arrest (2004)
- Man arrested for alleged soliciting (2007)
- Accused offender allowed contact with son (2007)
- https://www.chieftain.com/canon-city-sex-sting-snags/ (2007)
- “ROTC Professor Arrested in Child Sex Sting”, Army Times, May 15 2008.
- Seattle U Professor Jailed for Seeking Sex with Girl (2008)
- “Seattle Professor Arrested in for Sex Crimes in Colorado”, CBS/KKTV-TV 11, May 15 2008.
- https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-university-professor-held-in-online-sex-sting/ (2008)
- https://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/canon-city-man-charged-with-sexual-exploitation-of-a-child-sentenced/ (2022)
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- Vickie James Sent to Pen (1962)
- https://k2radio.com/amber-mefferd-sentenced-in-prostitution-case/ (2012)
- https://k2radio.com/fbi-says-9-children-rescued-in-prostitution-sweep/ (2013)
- https://www.cpr.org/show-segment/former-canon-city-high-student-reflects-on-sexting-controversy/ (2015)
- https://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/sex-trafficking-sting-rescues-colorado-infant-and-5-year-old-sister-from-predators/ (2017)
- https://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/officials-human-trafficking-comes-in-many-forms-and-its-happening-in-fremont-county/ (2022)
- https://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/volunteers-sought-to-help-put-an-end-to-human-trafficking/ (2022)
- https://www.canoncity.org/calendar=847 (2022)