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Norfolk is a city in Madison County, Nebraska, about 100 miles northwest of Omaha, NE, at the intersection of U.S. Routes 81 and 275. Its population is roughly 24,000, making it the ninth-largest city in Nebraska. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well documented problems in the community. For example, in 2021 a man was sentenced to life in prison for felony charges relating to the sex trafficking of a 15-year-old victim. Six other men ranging in age from 23 to 50 years old were arrested for charges of either first degree sexual assault or child abuse, with some required to register as sex offenders. Thirteen others had been arrested in connection to the sexual exploitation of the same victim, whose name has not been released as a minor. The first man sentenced was said to have been the ringleader in the five month-long episode of child sexual exploitation, and was convicted on 13 of 14 felony charges. The man will be required to serve 176.5 years before he would be eligible for parole, as he was sentenced to serve a minimum of 176.5 years to the maximum 304 years in prison. A comprehensive investigation was conducted by numerous local, county and state law enforcement agencies. This included the Norfolk and Kearney police departments, the Furnas, Sarpy and Douglas County Sheriff’s offices, the Nebraska State Patrol, and other arms of Nebraska’s judicial offices.
Among the law enforcement responses to such problems have been the arrest and shaming of sex buyers. For example, in February 2016, a longtime foster parent in Norfolk pleaded not guilty to soliciting prostitution from a person under age 18. The 59-year-old man was accused of offering $100 and other favors in exchange for being allowed to sexually fondle a boy (then 17 years of age) he had adopted after serving as the boy’s foster parent. The man pleaded not guilty to soliciting prostitution from a person underage 18 the trial was scheduled for an appearance in Madison County District Court. The man had been a foster parent to at least 13 boys since the 1990s.
In February 2020, a Norfolk man was arrested in relation to terroristic threats and theft after he tried to recover money a woman claimed she was owed from prostitution. The situation began when Norfolk man and woman connected over a dating app. The man solicited a sexual encounter from the woman for an agreed upon price. The man picked the woman up and took her to his residence for the encounter. Afterward, the man gave the woman a check for the agreed upon amount. When the woman tried to cash the check, there was not enough funds in the account, nor was there several days later. Eventually, the woman recruited two men to help her get the money. One of the men reportedly threatened the sex buyer’s life and demanded twice the originally agreed upon amount in payment. After the men left the sex buyer, the latter reported the incident to the police. All individuals were interviewed and one of the men was arrested in relation to terroristic threats and theft by extortion. The sex buyer was arrested and cited in relation to soliciting prostitution.
In December, 2021, a Norfolk man was arrested and faced multiple felony charges after allegedly telling a girl he would do her favors in exchange for sex. The Norfolk Police Division and Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services had received reports referencing possible child abuse in August, 2021, and the investigation led to the eventual arrest of the offender. In March 2022, the man was sentenced to 45 days in jail and 18 months’ probation, plus 45 days of waivable jail time that was ordered to be completed before the probation term ends.
- Norfolk Police Division
- Madison County Sheriff’s Office
- Nebraska State Patrol
- Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:
- https://omaha.com/norfolk-foster-parent-accused-of-soliciting-sex-from-boy-he-adopted (2016)
- https://norfolkdailynews.com/news/arrests-made-in-connection-with-prostitution-case (2020)
- https://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/national/article (2020)
- https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/nationall (2020)
- https://nypost.com/man-pays-hooker-with-bad-check-that-bounces-complains-to-cops-gets-arrested/ (2020)
- https://norfolkdailynews.com/select/news/man-charged-with-soliciting-prostitution-of-a-minor-child-abuse (2021)
- https://norfolkdailynews.com/man-sentenced-to-short-jail-term-probation-soliciting-minor (2022)
Background on Local Sex Trafficking and Prostitution:
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