Kirksville, MO

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
Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and has generated complaints to law enforcement agencies. A search of prostitution related websites in October, 2022, revealed dozens of listings for prostitution in Kirksville, and local ordinances have been passed to contain the problem.
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 town include reverse stings, the disclosure of sex buyer identities, and employment loss. For example, in November, 2019, a Kirksville police detective was informed by the Truman Department of Public Safety that there were anonymous tips that a 57-year-old church leader and university professor had been using the app called Grindr to harass male Truman students for sexual contact as well as offering to pay for items in exchange for sex. The detective then made an undercover profile on Grindr, posing as an 18-year-old male. He was arrested and charged with patronizing prostitution after allegedly trying to solicit an 18-year-old on Grindr with offers of an Arby’s gift card and gas money. The man allegedly arranged to meet up at a gas station to refuel the teen’s car in exchange for sex, saying that he “might throw in an Arby’s card LOL.” After arriving at the station, the man fled and was later arrested. He had been a professor of communication at the university for nearly 30 years. Truman State said in a statement that he has been suspended and “informed that he is not allowed on campus, cannot have any contact with student organizations or participate in any campus events or activities.” His name was also removed from the website for the Kirksville Church of Christ, where he had been listed as one of three church elders.  The man appeared before a judge to face a misdemeanor charge of “patronizing prostitution.” He initially pleaded not guilty, but eventually changed to a guilty plea.  He was terminated from his positions both with the University and the Church.

Key Partners

  • Kirksville Police Department
  • Truman Department of Public Safety
State Missouri
Type City
Population 17645
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