Frankfort, KY

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

Frankfort is the capital city of Kentucky, with a population of roughly 29,000 residents. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented problems within the city since the 1980s. A recent case involved state legislators and police officers allegedly involved in a prostitution ring in Franklin County. Among the tactics used to address these crimes are reverse stings. For example, in January 2018, four men were charged for allegedly traveling to Frankfort to sexually abuse a minor after making arrangements online, according to an announcement by the attorney general. “Operation Shielded Child” was a web-based reverse sting focused on finding those who solicited minors for sex online and possessed or distributed child sexual abuse materials (i.e., child pornography). The Cyber Crimes Unit led the sting. The names and photos of the arrestees were publicly disclosed.

In May 2019, four men were arrested in a two-day undercover “Operation Shielded Child” predator sting in Franklin County.  Beshear’s Cyber Crimes Unit conducted the operation as part of its mission to arrest those who seek sexual access to children online and produce, possess or distribute CSAM. AG cyber investigators made the arrests with the assistance of the Frankfort Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Jail, Lexington Police Department, and Louisville Metro Police Department.

In October 2019, a former Franklin County constable pleaded guilty to one felony count of promoting prostitution and some misdemeanor charges. The 70-year-old Frankfort resident was originally charged with one count of kidnapping a minor, three counts of impersonating a peace officer, and one count of promoting prostitution, all felonies. In addition to pleading guilty to one felony count of promoting prostitution, the felony charge of kidnapping a minor was reduced in Franklin County Circuit Court to one misdemeanor count of unlawful imprisonment. The three felony counts of impersonating a peace officer were reduced to three counts of misdemeanor criminal attempt to impersonate a police officer. The prosecution suggested the man be sentenced to three years in prison for promoting prostitution, one year for unlawful imprisonment, and one year for attempting to impersonate a peace officer. His sentencing was scheduled for January. According to a previous State Journal report, the man served as a Franklin County constable from 2011 to 2014. He also ran an unlicensed private investigation service where he allegedly operated a prostitution ring. A woman reported the man to authorities in 2015. The woman said she met the defendant when she was an eighth-grade cheerleader and he was a football coach, and she had been working for him in prostitution for over 20 years. In addition to providing sex for money to sex buyers two days a week, the woman said she was required to give “Boss” sex for free anytime he wanted. Several other witnesses testified they had the same experience. Court documents in the case said he would require the women he was exploiting to sometimes participate in group sex and that sometimes sexual encounters were recorded.

Key Partners

  • Frankfort Police Department
  • Cyber Crimes Unit
  • Attorney General’s Office
  • Franklin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Franklin County Jail
  • Lexington Police Department
  • Louisville Metro Police Department

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Kentucky
Type City
Population 28595
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