Ottawa is a city located at the confluence of the Illinois River and Fox River in LaSalle County, Illinois. The city is located in the North Central region of Illinois, approximately 100 miles from Chicago. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the communities and unincorporated areas of the county, including Ottawa, the county seat. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results 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.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. In May, 2019, the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office announced that nine men have been charged with solicitation after a multi-year investigation into prostitution and drugs in the area. In a statement, the Lasalle County Sheriff said the investigation began after receiving complaints from Illinois Valley citizens regarding prostitution. The Lasalle County Sheriff’s Office and the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Narcotics Team were assisted in this investigation by the Ottawa and Peru police departments. During the investigation, law enforcement personnel spoke to several female drug users who advised them about the connection between addicts and prostitution. Ottawa and Peru authorities targeted individuals allegedly soliciting another individual for sexual acts. After gathering statements and reviewing evidence, nine men from three counties aged 18-66 were charged with one count of misdemeanor solicitation. One of the men was additionally charged with misdemeanor charges of attempted solicitation and battery. All of those charged were issued court dates with a notice to appear. The nine men included the mayor of Sandwich, a Putnam County attorney and a Peru hospital executive, and all were charged after an investigation into prostitution in Lasalle County.
- Ottawa Police Department
- Lasalle County Sheriff’s Office
- Tri-County Drug Enforcement Narcotics Team
- Peru Police Department
Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2016/10/lasalle-police-department-no-sex-just-kissing-the-story-is-falling-apart/ (2016)
- https://patch.com/illinois/yorkville/sandwich-mayor-nailed-possible-prostitution-sting (2019)
- https://www.daily-chronicle.com/sandwich-mayor-among-those-charged-in-prostitution-sting (2019)
- http://www.wspynews.com/news/local/sandwich-mayor-rick-olson-charged-with-solicitation-of-a-sexual (2019)
- https://www.walls102.com/solicitation-sting-nabs-nine/ (2019)
- https://www.pjstar.com/news/reports-putnam-county-public-defender-charged-in-prostitution-sting (2019)
- http://www.wspynews.com/sandwich-mayor-others-allegedly-offered-money-to-informant-in (2019)
Background on Local Prostitution: