Kennebec County, ME

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

Kennebec County is located in the South-central portion of Maine. At the 2020 census, its population was approximately 124,000. Its county seat is the city of Augusta, the state capital (with approximately 19,000 residents).  Prostitution activity has been well documented within the county for decades, and has generated complaints to police. Sexual exploitation of minors has also been documented locally. For example, in July, 2014, a Litchfield woman was arrested and faced a felony charge of aggravated sex trafficking for allegedly coercing a 17-year-old girl into prostitution. The defendant entered a plea of not guilty in Augusta District Court to a misdemeanor charge alleging she promoted prostitution between July 31, 2012, and April 10, 2014, in Augusta. The Kennebec County Superior Court handled the additional felony charge of aggravated sex trafficking. A conviction on the felony charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. In a more recent case, in January 2021 court documents were filed in pursuit of an early release from prison for a Kennebec County man serving time for “child pornography” (i.e., child sexual abuse materials, or CSAM) offenses, and the offender “…admitted that he has a long history of possessing child pornography, voyeurism, and soliciting prostitution.”

In their efforts to reduce prostitution activity and the crimes it generates – including human trafficking – local law enforcement agencies have launched investigations to identify and arrest sex buyers. County authorities often collaborate with city and town police to conduct demand reduction operations. For example, in September 2015, media outlets reported the completion of three reverse stings in Augusta and Waterville. The operations marked a collaborative effort between the Augusta and Waterville Police Departments and Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office. During the stings, officers placed decoy advertisements suggesting prostitution to websites known for commercial sex sales, and arranged to meet the individuals who responded to the listing at hotels in the two communities. Twenty-one male sex buyers were arrested as a result of the stings; all of the men’s identities were publicized in press. In a joint press release about the investigationsa representative with the APD noted:

“Individuals seeking to patronize prostitutes – and the money they spend – create the market for these crimes and the opportunity for the victimization of many trafficked individuals.”

In January 2016, the Bangor Daily News reported that five of the men intercepted during the September 2015 reversal had pleaded guilty to “engaging a prostitute” and had been sentenced to pay $800 in fines and fees. In addition, Daily News reporters indicated that two more sex buyers had previously pleaded guilty in November 2015; those men were similarly sentenced to $800 in fines and fees but were also required to serve 48 hours in jail.

Key Partners

  • Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office
  • Augusta Police Department
  • Waterville Police Department

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Maine Prostitution Statute:

State Maine
Type County
Population 124486
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