Johnson County, IN

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

Johnson County, Indiana has a population of approximately 164,000, and is included in the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat is the city of Franklin. Prostitution activity has been well-documented throughout the county, particularly at interstate highway truck stops, and in storefront brothels such as massage businesses and spas. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. For example, in July 2008, a police officer and his wife had been accused of running a prostitution ring out of their Greenwood home, where the officer allegedly collected cash from the prostituted women while in uniform. The police officer faced a charge of aiding in promoting prostitution. While wearing his police uniform, he would collect money from prostituted women hired by his wife. Arrest warrants were issued for the couple as well as a male sex buyer, a Marion County Sheriff’s Department employee who faced a misdemeanor count of “patronizing a prostitute.” The couple was charged with multiple felony counts of promoting prostitution for allegedly operating the illegal escort service from their home in the Indianapolis suburb of Greenwood, in Johnson County.  In June 2016, a 41-year-old Franklin woman was arrested on a charge of prostitution.  She was advertising sex for cash on the Internet, and a Johnson County Sheriff’s Office deputy went undercover, sent her text messages, talked to her on the phone, agreed to meet in Greenwood to exchange sex for $150. In October 2021, a local woman was arrested for prostitution after offering an undercover officer sex for money. Greenwood police had received complaints from the public about possible prostitution at a spa on North State Road, and went undercover to investigate.

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. For example, in January 2009, police responded to prostitution that had become “a constant problem” along Indiana highways, with businesses along I-65 attracting prostituted women and their facilitators cruising for customers. A manager at one truck stop called the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office after noticing the same car in the lot visit up to 30 times in the prior two months. Investigators followed the car to a truck stop across the street, and saw a woman get out and spend time in a trucker’s cab. Afterward, police interviewed the woman and then arrested her; she was 21 years old and eight months pregnant, and had been driven for the prostitution “dates” by her husband. The truck driver was also detained, and told police he paid her $80 for sex, and that he had propositioned him over CB radio, asking, “Who wanted some company?” The driver was issued a summons to appear in court for “patronizing a prostitute” and his identity was publicly disclosed.

In November 2022, twenty men were arrested and faced a host of solicitation and related charges after a three-day “child sex sting” in Johnson County. The joint operation, conducted November 1-3 by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department and the Franklin Police Department, involved detectives “snaring child predators by posing as underage children online and agreeing to meetups” WXIN-TV reported. Some of the suspects traveled “great distances,” brought different items to the meetups, including alcoholic beverages, narcotics and firearms, and several tried to coerce a minor to leave with them. The reverse sting marked the fourth child sex operation conducted by the two departments during the prior two years, resulting in a combined 49 arrests. The identities of the men arrested in the latest sting were listed in news releases, and with their charges, which included: child solicitation; contributing to the delinquency of a minor; making an unlawful proposition;” possession of child pornography” (child sexual abuse material, or CSAM); dissemination of harmful matter to a minor; possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver; resisting law enforcement; and criminal mischief.

In April 2023, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office announced the results of a three-day sting operation in which 32 people were arrested on child solicitation and prostitution charges, as well as some drug possession charges. The operation took place in Greenwood, but none of the men arrested were from Johnson County. Twenty of the men arrested were from Indianapolis or Marion County, and some men traveled from as far as Tennessee. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the operation by the Franklin Police Department and Edinburgh Police Department.

Key Partners

  • Johnson County Sheriff’s Department
  • Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Johnson County Jail
  • Franklin Police Department
  • Greenwood Police Department
  • Edinburgh Police Department.

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related Crime:

State Indiana
Type County
Population 164298
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