McDowell County, NC

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

McDowell County is located in North Carolina, with approximately 45,000 residents. Its county seat is Marion, which comprises the Marion Micropolitan Statistical Area, also included in the Hickory-Lenoir Combined Statistical Area. According to McDowell County Sheriff’s Department, the police received numerous complaints and tips from the public about prostitution in the area. In response to such complaints, officials have conducted reverse stings against both sex buyers and sex sellers.

In January 2014, the McDowell News reported the arrest of a sex buyer following a sting by the Marion Police Department. The individual was intercepted after allegedly soliciting an undercover officer and “confidential source” at a local motel. Before arriving at the location, the sex buyer had reportedly been in communication with the confidential source and had offered him money in exchange for sex acts. He was charged with two counts of solicitation for prostitution. The arrestee’s name and mugshot were publicized in the press.

According to a report from the Carolina Public Press: In November 2015, North Carolina state adult care home regulators issued a scathing report against Cedarbrook Residential Center of Nebo, an adult care home in McDowell County. The report detailed allegations of sexual abuse, prostitution, illegal drug use, filthy living conditions, and neglect. Additional surveys in March and July 2016 described further abuses and a failure to correct the original problems. A follow-up survey described another allegation of a female resident engaging in prostitution. That resident, whose diagnoses included mild mental impairment and a mood disorder, was also “deemed incompetent and had a court-appointed guardian.” A male resident told investigators that the woman had sex with other residents in exchange for sodas. Two other residents said the woman was “selling sex every day” and “the going price was $2.” The director of public policy at Disability Rights North Carolina stated that “The facility has generated some of the most serious concerns of any adult care home we’ve spent time in.” DHHS investigators said a review of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office communications logs revealed 202 calls from the facility six months prior to the November 2015 inspection, 26 of which were related to assaults at the facility. A county deputy interviewed by investigators said, “the number of calls from the facility about fights between residents was ‘almost ridiculous.’” A McDowell News report from September 2013 described the arrest of a 24-year-old Nebo man working as a nursing assistant at Cedarbrook accused of trading cigarettes for sex with two female Cedarbrook residents. Two years later, deputies arrested a 48-year-old Marion man for sexual battery and assault on a 24-year-old female resident of Cedarbrook. The victim accused the man, who worked for an agency that helped residents find alternative housing, of making sexual advances and assaulting her, according to The McDowell News.

Key Partners

State North Carolina
Type County
Population 44578
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