Guernsey County, Ohio, has a population of roughly 40,000, and its county seat is the city of Cambridge. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity within the county have been well-documented. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is 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. While the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office has not (to our knowledge) conducted standard, proactive reverse stings for prostitution, the agency has responded to tips and launched investigations that have resulted in the arrest and shaming of sex buyers. For example, in February, 2018, a 76-year-old Cumberland man was charged with compelling prostitution, a second degree felony, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third degree felony. He was taken into custody after the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at his home. He was found to have solicited a minor to engage in sexual activity between January 2015 and Jan. 31, 2018 at his home. The victim was under the age of 16. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Crimes against Children Unit and Crime Scene Units from the Bureau of Criminal Investigations from the Ohio Highway Patrol.
In July, 2019, the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division announced it had arrested and charged a 29 year old man with Compelling Prostitution, a felony of the third degree. A week-long investigation was initiated after investigators received information that the suspect had reportedly offered to pay a minor for a sexual act. Several other victims later came forward with the same allegations. The ages of the victims range from age 14 to 25. Detectives were able to determine that the suspect met some of his victims while performing his duties as a volunteer band instructor at a local school district, although no soliciting was believed to have occurred on campus. The investigation continued and detectives were still trying to determine if there were additional victims
- Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office
Arrest of Sex Buyer, Shaming:
- https://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/76-year-old-cumberland-man-charged-compelling-prostitution (2018)
- https://www.facebook.com/guernsey-county-man-was-charged-with-felony-sex-crimes-after-he-allegedly-placed (2018)
- https://www.wtrf.com/video/guernsey-county-man-arrested-for-compelling-prostitution/ (2019)
- https://www.daily-jeff.com/pleasant-city-man-charged-with-compelling-prostitution (2019)
- http://guernseysheriff.com/pleasant-city-man-charged-with-compelling-prostitution/ (2019)
Background on Local Prostitution, Sexual Exploitation:
- https://www.nbc4i.com/news/politics/ohio-man-admits-to-having-children-perform-sex-acts-in-front-of-him/ (2018)
- https://abc6onyourside.com/elderly-man-charged-for-using-medieval-stocks-to-commit-sex-crimes-against-children (2018)