Marathon County, WI

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

Marathon County is a county located in Wisconsin, the population is approximately 138,000. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the county. This activity, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.

Some cases of the local sex trade have involved child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often called “child pornography” in state criminal laws). For example, in July 2016,  three men from Marathon County were arrested and faced felony charges for using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. The local reverse sting was part of a larger statewide and national effort to arrest those seeking sex with children – including the commercial sex trafficking of children. The Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children task force made 87 arrests of suspected child predators during “Operation Broken Heart,” which took place in April and May. The Marathon County Sheriff’s Office was among the dozens of Wisconsin law enforcement agencies that participated in the Operation. Nationally, the effort resulted in 1,368 arrests. The task forces conducted about 2,300 presentations, according to a news release issued by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The crackdown targeted offenders who: (1) possess, manufacture, and distribute child pornography; (2) engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes; (3) engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of children (commonly referred to as child prostitution), and (4) engage in child sex tourism (traveling abroad for the purpose of sexually abusing foreign children). As part of Operation Broken Heart, the Wisconsin ICAC Task Force engaged in Operation New Hope, a one-week enforcement effort that included participation from over 40 Wisconsin agencies. Officers from Marathon, Door, Brown, and Outagamie counties took part in the operation and posed as 15-year-old boys and girls in search of sexual encounters on Craigslist ads. Three men from Marathon County were arrested and faced felony charges for using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. Each faced a maximum 40-year prison sentence.

Key Partners

  • Marathon County Sheriff’s Office
  • Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation
  • Wisconsin State Patrol
  • Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
State Wisconsin
Type County
Population 138013
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