Chautauqua County, NY

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

Chautauqua County is the westernmost county in the state of New York. As of the 2020 census, its population was approximately 127,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in multiple areas within the county, including cases of sex trafficking of minors. For example, in March 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York announced that a federal grand jury had returned a 14-count indictment charging a man from Jamestown with enticement of a minor, sex trafficking of a minor, production, distribution, possession, and receipt of child pornography, and making a false statement. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life, and a $250,000 fine. The indictment stated that in November 2014 the defendant attempted to coerce a minor to engage in prostitution and sexual activity. On those same dates, he had recruited two minor victims to engage in a commercial sex act, and produced a visual depiction of their encounter. On multiple occasions between December 2016 and April 2017, he had distributed an image of child sexual abuse (CSAM, often called “child pornography” in state laws) depicting the two victims. In April 2017, the offender coerced a third minor victim to engage in sex for the purpose of producing a visual depiction, leading to charges for having received, possessed, and distributed child pornography depicting the third victim. In addition, the defendant possessed CSAM on his cell phone and social media account. The indictment resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Jamestown Police Department.

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. For example, in July 2015, a man was charged with third-degree patronizing a prostitute, a class A misdemeanor, after an investigation by the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force. According to a police report, the 67-year-old man from Falconer turned himself in to Ellicott Town Court, after an investigation allegedly found that he had arranged to pick a woman up in Jamestown and then take her to Falconer, where he paid her cash to engage in sexual activity. The Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Jamestown and Ellicott police departments, assisted by the New York State Police CNET team. While not a traditional reverse sting, the case did involve an investigation of allegations of a man attempting to buy sex, and was not simply an opportunistic arrest of a man who had purchased sex (which we would not classify as a reverse sting for the purposes of Demand Forum).

In July 2019, a man from Jamestown was arrested in a prostitution sting with six other individuals. The operation took place at a local hotel and led to the indictment of both buyers and sexually exploited persons by the Warwick Police Department. As in previous cases, the identifying information of those arrested was released to the public.

In January, 2023,  the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office collaborated with  Homeland Security Investigations on an investigation that led to a Mayville man being arrested and charged by criminal complaint with transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and sex trafficking of a minor. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office had received a complaint that the suspect had been sexually abusing two children over the prior eight years. A subsequent investigation identified a total of four minor victims. During interviews with investigators, the victims stated that the man raped or attempted to rape and sexually abused them. The suspect threatened them with violence or threatened to hurt their families if they disclosed what he was doing. The complaint stated that the man had regular sexually abusive contact with one minor victim beginning when she was eight years old, as often as three to four times each week. The minor victim told investigators that the man started paying her in exchange for sexual abuse, beginning when she was 13 years old until age 16 years old. On one occasion, the man took her to Erie, PA, to pick up drugs. Prior to returning home, the man stopped at a motel to repeatedly rape and physically abused her.

Key Partners

  • Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force
    • Jamestown Police Department
    • Ellicott Police Department
  • New York State Police CNET team
  • Warwick Police Department
State New York
Type County
Population 127657
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