Morton, IL

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

Morton is a village in Tazewell County, Illinois, with a population of approximately 16,000. Morton is a suburb located just southeast of Peoria. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented throughout Tazewell 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 are sex trafficking and the serial killing of prostituted women.

Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and the demand reduction tactics of employment loss and public disclosure of sex buyer identities have been employed in Morton. In March 2011, the Morton village Public Works Superintendent resigned after being arrested for allegedly traveling in a village vehicle to solicit paid sex from a Mount Zion woman who faced prostitution charges. The Morton Village Board held a special meeting to accept the man’s resignation. The man had been in charge of the village’s Public Works Department for more than 30 years and one year was named one of the top 10 directors of public works in the country by the American Public Works Association. According to a sworn statement from the Decatur Police Department, the man was driving a village vehicle and on duty when he drove slowly past the Mount Zion woman’s home shortly after she was arrested as part of an undercover investigation by the department’s Street Crimes Unit. Mount Zion police made a traffic stop on the vehicle and the man admitted to Decatur police he planned to pay the woman $200 for sex, as he had done on two previous occasions, and admitted that he had just arrived for an appointment to purchase sex with her. He was arrested and charged with solicitation and official misconduct. The woman was charged with prostitution and “keeping a place of prostitution.” Mount Zion is about 80 miles southeast of Morton.

In April, 2023, a truck driver from West Virginia was sentenced to 15 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for attempted trafficking of a minor. According to a Department of Justice release, the truck driver was also required to register as a sex offender and pay restitution totaling $49,000 to victims of “child pornography” (child sexual abuse materials, or CSAM), whose images were stored on his phone.  At his sentencing hearing, the government presented evidence that the man initiated a conversation on an advertising website in August 2020 with an individual he believed to be a mother offering her 9-year-old daughter for paid sexual abuse. In August 2021, the man again initiated a text conversation, agreeing to “pay $50 for sex with the minor girl.” He planned to meet the girl and her mother at an agreed-upon location in Morton. FBI agents then arrested the man upon his arrival. He admitted he was there to meet the minor girl and her mother and that he “intended to have sex with the girl.” He also admitted that his phone contained images of CSAM. Agents searched the phone and found hundreds of images and videos of “child pornography.” He was indicted in September 2021 and pleaded guilty a year later. He has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest. The statutory penalties for attempted sex trafficking of a minor are fifteen years to life imprisonment, followed by five years to life of supervised release.

Key Partners

  • Morton Village Public Works Department
  • Decatur Police Department
  • Mount Zion Police Department
  • Tazewell County Circuit Court

Key Sources

Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking, Related CSAM in the Area:

Prostitution-Related Violence in the County:

Local Prostitution Ordinance:

State Illinois
Type City
Population 15791
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