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Ottawa is a village in and the county seat of Putnam County, Ohio, and has a population of approximately 4,000 residents. It is located about 50 miles southwest of Toledo. Although instances of prostitution and sex trafficking are not substantial issues in the city, instances of their occurrence have been reported. Among the more serious issues associated with the commercial sex market in the city and in surrounding communities is child sex trafficking. For example, in 2013 a Gilboa, Ohio man was accused of felony charges including compulsion to involuntary servitude, endangering children, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor, and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. In 2015, the offender was sentenced to an aggregate term of 28 years in a federal prison. According to an assistant prosecutor involved with the case, this was the first known case involving sex trafficking in the county.
Identity disclosure and employment loss are consequences of buying sex that have occurred in the city. For example, a street-level reverse sting operation conducted in 2011 by the Allen County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the arrest of the now former Ottawa city mayor at a Lima motel. The sex buyer pleaded no contest to the charge of soliciting prostitution, a third-degree misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, a 20 day suspension from employment, and was fined $250. Shortly after his arrest, the offender submitted an official letter of resignation. However, in 2014, the former mayor was arrested on the charge of soliciting prostitution again. The investigation was a web-based operation targeting sex buyers led by the Allen County Sheriff’s Office in coordination with the Lima Police Department and the FBI.
Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest:
- “Ottawa Mayor Accused of Soliciting a Prostitute”, Toledo Blade, August 29 2011.
- “Reaction from Ottawa on Arrest of Mayor Maag”, NBC/WLIO-TV 8, September 5 2011.
- “Ottawa Mayor Resigns”, NBC/WLIO-TV 8, September 12 2011.
- “Former Ottawa Mayor Arrested Friday in Prostitution Sting”, Putnam County Sentinel, June 27 2014.
- “Former Ottawa Mayor Arrested in Prostitution Sting Again”, Lima News, June 27 2014.
- “Prostitution Sting Nabs Former Mayor”, NBC/WLIO-TV 8, June 27 2014.
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area: