Crystal Lake, IL

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

Crystal Lake is a city in northeastern Illinois, located in McHenry County, and has a population of approximately 40,000 residents. Named after a lake 1.6 miles southwest of the city’s downtown, Crystal Lake is 45 miles northwest of Chicago, IL. Due to the city’s close proximity to Chicago, instances of prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the city and surrounding areas. This activity and its ancillary crimes have generated residential complaints to local law enforcement. Among the more serious crimes associated with the city’s commercial sex market is the online commercial sexual exploitation of children. In addition, the city has also had issues with illicit massage businesses (IMBs). For example, between 2013 and 2018, the Crystal Lake Police Department had made arrests for prostitution at six separate massage establishments. After several arrests made in 2017, officials observed potential code violations occurring at some establishments. Specifically, there were resident complaints on a current massage establishment, where the resident felt that there were employees living in the business and that there was 24-hour activity occurring at the business. During one investigation, the CLPD discovered that a business owner of a Crystal Lake establishment was also an owner of a massage business in a different municipality, where there were prostitution arrests made. Some of the Crystal Lake establishments are no longer in business, while others remain open.

In effort to reduce the demand for commercial sex in the city, the CLPD has deployed various demand-reduction tactics such as web-based reverse stings and identity disclosure. For example, in February 2020, the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Task Force, which consists of area police departments, arrested four male sex buyers during an online reverse sting operation in Crystal Lake. All four arrested male sex buyers were charged with solicitation of a sex act, a Class A misdemeanor. The operation was coordinated by the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Task Force, which is made up of the Algonquin Police Department, Cary Police Department, Crystal Lake Police Department, Huntley Police Department, Illinois State Police, Lake in the Hills Police Department, McHenry City Police Department, and Woodstock Police Department. According to authorities, the operation was a part of the 19th annual nationwide operation of “National Johns Suppression Initiative.” A total of 451 male sex buyers were arrested by law enforcement agencies across the country.

Loss of employment is also a consequence of buying sex that has occurred in the city. For example, in April 2015, a Crystal Lake South High School teacher resigned two months after he was charged with soliciting sex during a reverse prostitution sting in Rockford that resulted in the arrest of eight men. The former teacher was placed on paid administrative leave until the Community High School District 155 school board accepted his resignation in April. His resignation was effective immediately and he was not given any additional compensation, but continued to receive his health insurance benefits through June 30, 2015. The man had spent more than 20 years teaching at District 155 and was making a salary of more than $110,000, according to salary reports. He was also a longtime wrestling coach for the Crystal Lake South Gators, but was no longer coaching or participating in other extracurricular roles at the school during the administrative leave. His case was prosecuted at the Winnebago County Court.

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Loss of Employment, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Illinois
Type City
Population 40411
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