Cleburne, TX

Tactics Used

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

Cleburne is a city located in Johnson County, TX with a population of about 33,484 residents. A large-scale investigation into sex trafficking of minors occurred in Cleburne and other communities in  Johnson County Texas in 2015.  Johnson County investigators posted online advertisements for sex that implied the person being offered was young, and when potential buyers made contact with investigators, they were told that the person with whom they  intended to buy sex was  either 14 or 15 years old.  Once the predators agreed to terms, they arranged to meet to complete the transactions.  Records showed that 16 men traveled from as far as Garland and Plano to Johnson County hoping to have sex with what they thought was a minor they met online. when they arrived and displayed signs that they intended to follow through  on purchasing sex with a child, they were arrested.  At the time the investigation reached its conclusion and arrests were made, investigators believed the sexual predator sting operation that landed 16 people in jail was the largest in Texas up to that time. One of the men arrested was already a registered sex offender. Another man, thinking he was texting a 14 year old, asked for gas money so he could get back to Fort Worth after they met. A third man was packing a gun when he went to have sex with a child. After the arrest police did additional research on the suspects, and found that one had more than 100 ads posted in cities all over the United States – considering he was caught trying to buy sex with minors based on one ad he responded to, it is likely that that this predator had many other victims.  The men received a wide range of sanctions and sentences, reflective of the circumstances at the time of arrest, and on the men’s criminal history and concurrent offenses (such as possessing firearms or drugs or violating sex offender registry terms. Some men served time in state prison, or were sentenced to probation for up to 10 years and required to register as a sex offender for 20 years.

Key Partners

  • Cleburne Police Department
  • Burleson Police Department
  • Johnson County Sheriff’s Department
  • Stop The Offender Program (STOP) Special Crimes Unit
  • Johnson County’s Child Advocacy Center

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Shaming:

  • (2015)
  • (2015)
  • (2015)
  • (2015)
  • (2015)
  • (2015)

Background on Local Sex Trafficking and Prostitution:




State Texas
Type City
Population 33484
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