Downers Grove, 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

Downers Grove is a village of almost 50,000 residents in DuPage County, located about 20 miles west of Chicago. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.

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. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, street-level and web-based reverse stings have been used by police to arrest sex buyers. For example, in 2010 three men were arrested for solicitation through a web-based reversal. Downers Grove Police officers placed online advertising for escort services for the fictional identities Mandy and Princess. Undercover detectives posed as prostituted women documented offers to exchange money for sex, and arranged meetings to complete the transactions. The three men who were arrested were charged with misdemeanor solicitation of a sex act and released on $100 bail. The men were accused of offering to pay an undercover officer $200 to $250 for sex at a motel located on Butterfield Road. The money the men offered to pay for sex was seized by police and the names of arrestees were published in the local media.

In 2014, the Downers Grove Police Department worked alongside the DuPage County Metropolitan Enforcement Group in a prostitution sting that resulted in the arrest of seven men on Finley Road. The names, ages, and addresses of the sex buyers were publicly released.

In 2017, eight men were arrested during an operation by federal and Aurora police investigators who were targeting people willing to pay for sex with minors. Investigators posted online ads offering commercial sex, and those who responded were told that the decoys were underage. In one trial, jurors were shown several dozen text messages between the defendant and an undercover federal agent who was posing as a mother of two daughters, ages 14 and 15, and at one point sex was offered with the mother and both daughters. The man appeared at the arranged location and paid for sex with both children, and then was arrested.

In April, 2023, a girls track coach at Downers Grove South High School was arrested and charged with paying two minors to produce “child pornography” according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The man allegedly contacted the minors, who lived out of state, through social media platforms Snapchat and Telegram and convinced the two to produce child sexual abuse material (CSAM). He allegedly sent payments to the minors through CashApp. He then resigned from his position at the high school, according to an email sent out by District 99 Superintendant. The man did not teach at the school and had passed a background check before interacting with any students.

Key Partners

  • Downers Grove Police Department
  • DuPage County Metropolitan Enforcement Group
  • Red Roof Inn

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure, Employment Loss:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Illinois
Type City
Population 49263
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