Jackson County, NC

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

Jackson County is a county located in the far southwest of North Carolina. As of the 2020 census, its population was just over 43,000. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the county, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints and tips to law enforcement agencies. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has participated in large regional sting operations. For example, in March 2018, local, tribal, state and federal law enforcement agencies conducted an operation that focused on the commercial sexual exploitation of children and the predators involved.  This operation resulted in the arrest of three men who had demonstrated the intention of having sex with a minor.  All those arrested were from North Carolina and traveled at different times to an undisclosed location with the intention of meeting the minors.  The criminal offense charges included Attempted Statutory Sex Offense with a Child 11 years old by an adult; Solicit by Computer and Appeared; Attempted Statutory Sex Offense with a Child 15 years old or less by an adult; and Solicit for Prostitution. At least one local sex trafficking case involving child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often referred to in state laws as “child pornography).

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. Demand reduction tactics used in the county include the arrest of sex buyers and the public disclosure of their identities. For example, in June 2001 a high school teacher was arrested on more than 45 separate charges that included the solicitation of prostitution involving miners. The physical education teacher accused of running a sex for money scandal at a tiny high school in the mountains of North Carolina, in Jackson County. The instructor faced charges including promotion of prostitution and the sexual exploitation of minors. Jackson County authorities also arrested the school resource officer at the school on charges that included two counts of taste taking indecent liberties with students at the school where he worked. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office officials and said that the teacher had paid at least one male student to have sex with a female student and that the activity would be videotaped. It was also reported that the teacher had paid more than $500 to have sex with one student, and that he had sexually abused at least two other female students, aged 16 and 17. The crimes were alleged to have occurred at the school and at the teachers home. The man’s identity was publicly disclosed and he was terminated from his position at the school.

Key Partners

  • Jackson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Jackson County School District
  • Cherokee Indian Police Department
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Swain County Sheriff’s Office
  • North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement
  • Drug Enforcement Administration Asheville Post of Duty
  • Asheville Police Department
  • Hendersonville Police Department
  • Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure, Employment Loss:

Background on Local Sex Trafficking, Related CSAM:

State North Carolina
Type County
Population 43126
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