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Lake Oswego is a city of about 41,000 residents located in Northwestern Oregon, primarily in Clackamas County, OR, but with small portions extending into neighboring Multnomah County, OR and Washington County, OR. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been known to occur in the area for decades, and residents and business owners frequently complain to police about the detrimental effects sexual exploitation has on their businesses. As sex trafficking has become a growing concern in this region of Oregon, county and municipal police departments have participated with state and federal agencies in related law enforcement actions in Washington and Clackamas counties. For example, in 2009, FBI agents – working with Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies, Eugene police and federal immigration authorities – contacted individuals offering sexual services through ads on Craigslist. One result was the rescue of an underage girl in Clackamas County. A Clackamas County sheriff’s spokesman said that the 17-year-old girl, from Vancouver, WA was sex trafficked. She was taken into protective custody as a victim and assessed by the state Department of Human Services. The Craigslist contacts led to six arrests on accusations of prostitution or promoting prostitution at local Clackamas hotel. The FBI said the Clackamas County stings were part of an area-wide crackdown that netted a total of seven underage girls and six adult pimps in the Portland area. Police also cited 14 prostituted women and three male sex buyers. More recent examples include a case in February 2018, where a man was indicted in Washington County Circuit Court for sex trafficking of a 17 year old victim.
To address such problems, area law enforcement agencies – including the Lake Oswego Police Department – have employed tactics that attempt to undermine consumer-level demand that provides the revenue for prostitution and sex trafficking markets. For example, in June 2018, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office led a team with six other collaborating agencies in a reverse sting operation that resulted in the arrest or citation of 37 people during an anti-human trafficking effort that occurred at multiple area hotels. During the operation, investigators communicated online with sex buyers. Each individual arrested and/or cited, faced charges of prostitution-related crimes, including commercial sexual solicitation. Other agencies involved in the operation included the Lake Oswego Police Department, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Portland Police Bureau, Hillsboro Police Department, Vancouver (WA) Police Department, and Oregon State Police.
In March 2018, investigators arrested 18 men during a web-based reverse sting focused on arresting individuals seeking to purchase commercial sex in Washington County. The operation was a collaborative effort by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsboro Police Department, Lake Oswego Police Department, the Portland Police Bureau’s sex trafficking team, and the Washington County District Attorney’s Office. Arrested offenders were charged with soliciting prostitution in addition to having their identities included in news releases. The arrested men were from a pool of over 70 contacts received by investigators who posted various decoy advertisements and communicated with potential sex buyers and arranged to meet at an unidentified Tigard hotel. Commercial sexual solicitation in Oregon is a misdemeanor, carrying fines up to $6,250 and up to one year in jail. A similar sting conducted in late 2017 had resulted in 40 contacts; detectives could have arrested each of those individuals, but they instead chose to give the potential sex buyers a verbal warning, under the condition that they would be arrested if they were caught in another prostitution situation.
In March, 2023, the Lake Oswego Police Department conducted a sex trafficking operation with the assistance of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, the Oregon City Police Department, the Milwaukie Police Department and the Sandy Police Department. During the sting, law enforcement officers posed as decoys, who were contacted by men offering to pay money in exchange for performing requested sexual acts. Eight men, responded and agreed to meet with the decoys. A Centennial High School assistant principal (in Gresham, OR) initially gave a false name and refused to identify himself so he was lodged at the Clackamas County Jail in Oregon City, Clackamas County, in order to get a positive identification. After receiving information about the arrest, the Centennial School District placed the man on administrative leave. He was charged for commercial sexual solicitation and the additional charge of giving false information to a peace officer in connection with a citation. The other seven men were cited and released for commercial sexual solicitation. Their identities were included in news reports.
- Lake Oswego Police Department
- Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office
- Washington County Sheriff’s Office
- Tigard Police Department
- Beaverton Police Department
- Hillsboro Police Department
- Portland Police Bureau
- Washington County District Attorney’s Office
- Vancouver (WA) Police Department
- Oregon State Police
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- https://pamplinmedia.com/bvt/15-news/prostitution-sting-nets-suspects (2013)
- Operation Cross Country X (2016)
- Operation Cross Country XI (2017)
- https://patch.com/oregon/beaverton/child-prostitution-sting-nabs-4-beaverton-men (2018)
- https://patch.com/oregon/hillsboro/18-men-arrested-sex-trafficking-sting-sheriff (2018)
- https://patch.com/oregon/lakeoswego/prostitution-sting-nabs-4-men-tigard-police-say (2018)
- http://www.kptv.com/37-people-arrested-cited-during-undercover-prostitution-sting-in-metro-area (2018)
- https://www.facebook.com/pg/clackcosheriff/posts/ (2018)
- https://conandaily.com/centennial-high-school-vice-principal-terrance-schloth-gives-false-information-to-police/ (2023)
- https://conandaily.com/8-arrested-by-lake-oswego-police-department/ (2023)
- https://conandaily.com/hillsboro-oregons-arrested-by-lake-oswego-police-department/ (2023)
- https://www.kptv.com/8-men-arrested-sex-traffic-sting-1-jailed-after-giving-false-name-lake-oswego-police-say/ (2023)
- https://kpic.com/news/local/centennial-high-vice-principal-among-those-arrested-in-human-sex-trafficking-sting (2023)
- https://katu.com/news/local/centennial-high-vice-principal-among-those-arrested-in-human-sex-trafficking-sting (2023)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- http://blog.oregonlive.com/clackamas_county_cops_nab_coup.html (20017)
- http://www.oregonlive.com/fbi_sting_identifies_79_child.html (2012)
- http://www.oregonlive.com/former_lake_oswego_cheerleader.html (2015)
- https://www.kgw.com/portland-man-arrested-in-sex-trafficking-case (2018)
- http://www.kptv.com//beaverton-police-man-arrested-for-promoting-prostitution (2018)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Oregon Bones May Be Tied to Green River Killings”, Spokane Spokesman-Review, June 15 1985.
- “Green River Force Looking for Link with Oregon Killings”, Spokane Chronicle, June 19 1985.
- “More Bones Uncovered in Tigard”, Bend Bulletin, June 21 1985.
- “Victim’s Bones, Found in 2 States, Baffle Police”, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, February 16 1990.
- “Police Net Catches the Wrong Man”, Seattle Times, November 6 2003.
- “Police Search for More Victims of Alleged Craigslist Attacker”, ABC/KATU-TV 2, November 19 2007.
- “Tigard Police Crack Down on Online Prostitution”, Oregonian, August 7 2008.
- “High Court Erases the Convictions of Craigslist Rapist”, Tigard Times, July 26 2012.
- “Oregon Supreme Court Says Convictions, Except Rape, Still Stand in Tigard Craigslist Case”, Oregonian, November 13 2012.