Citrus County, FL

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

Citrus County is a county of about 148,000 residents, located on the west central coast of Florida. Its county seat is Inverness. Prostitution and sex trafficking, including child sex trafficking, have been documented in the county, resulting in complaints to residents. Drugs have also been associated with the local commercial sex market.

Employment loss is a consequence of sex buying that has occurred in the county. In July 2016, a Citrus County Sheriff’s Deputy was arrested and charged with solicitation and engaging in prostitution. He was arrested by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office in connection with an incident that occurred in Hernando County. The man was taken into custody, and was later fired from his job in Citrus County. In addition to the firing, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office conducted an internal affairs investigation. Released documents revealed a Hernando County woman agreed to perform sex acts in exchange for $200, but when the man did not pay her, she reported the sexual encounter as a rape. An investigation did not substantiate the rape charges, but did support prostitution charges. The Citrus County deputy had been with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office for one year at the time he was fired.

Opportunistic sex buyer arrests have also occurred in the county. In October 2021, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office made the county’s first human trafficking arrest: a 35-year old teacher and paraprofessional at the Renaissance Center in Lecanto, a school for students with behavioral issues or who had been suspended from traditional classrooms. The investigation into the suspect’s alleged behavior began when the woman was employed by the school, and it was determined that she had maintained a sexual relationship with a 17-year old student for approximately six months. She was accused of driving the teen from place to place and paying for sex, which led to the human trafficking charge. Her charges included human trafficking, sexual battery by an authority figure, sexual battery by a custodial authority, traveling to meet a minor, child neglect, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The woman’s identity was included in news reports.

Key Partners

  • Citrus County Sheriff’s Office
  • Hernando County Sheriff’s Office
  • U.S. Marshals
State Florida
Type County
Population 147938
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