Middleton, MA

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

Middleton is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, with a population of just under 10,000 residents at the 2020 census.  It is located in eastern Massachusetts, about 15 miles north of Boston. Prostitution activity has been well-documented throughout Essex County, including within Middleton, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and demand reduction tactics have been used in the city. For example, in November, 2010, a man was identified by police and issued a summons to appear in court for buying sex with a prostituted woman.  The investigation began after police were being tipped by someone who saw a six-year-old girl periodically being sent to wait outside a Route 114 motel room in a baby sitter’s car.  Investigators found that the occupant was a woman who was offering paid sex on the online classified website Craigslist, which had recently pulled its “adult services” ads. The woman was arrested and charged with engaging in sexual conduct for a fee and two unspecified, outstanding warrants. She was held overnight at the Middleton police station on North Main Street and was arraigned in Salem District Court. Judge Robert Brennan set her bail at $200 after she pleaded not guilty, according to a spokesman for the Essex County district attorney. Bail was set low so she could appear in two other courts on the outstanding warrants.

Police had been called to the area of a donut store at 323 N. Main St., which was adjacent to the motel, on a report of a young woman and a child sleeping in a vehicle. The person who reported this activity told police this had occurred a number of times before. Police learned the young woman was the baby sitter of a 6-year-old girl, who was living with her mother in a room at the motor inn. The baby sitter told police she would take the child periodically when the mother was otherwise occupied in the room. The sitter did not tell police what the mother was doing. Police went to the motel and saw a man leave the room where the mother and child lived. Police stopped the man, questioned him and plan to summons him to court for engaging in “sexual conduct for a fee.” He was not named in press releases because police were still in the process of summonsing him. Police went to the room and arrested the prostituting woman. They learned she had been advertising on the “personals” section of Craigslist from questioning the man they saw coming from her room. The motel’s management cooperated with police, telling officers they do not tolerate illegal activity at the motel. Craigslist had removed its “adult services” section in September, 2010 following the alleged “Craigslist killer” reportedly using the site to meet his victims. Craigslist shut down the section amid pressure from 17 attorneys general, including Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. There had been questions about whether those ads would simply go elsewhere on the site, and this case involved other sections of Craigslist advertising for paid sex.

Key Partners

  • Middleton Police Department
  • Essex County District Attorney’s Office

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrest:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

Local Prostitution-Related Child Endangerment:

Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related Violence Within Essex County:

State Massachusetts
Type City
Population 9779
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