|IT Based Tactics
Randolph County is located in eastern Indiana on the Ohio border, between Muncie, IN and Dayton, OH. Its population is roughly 24,000 and its county seat is the city of Winchester. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented within the county for years, generating complaints and tips to police.
Local efforts to address these problems have included the arrest of sex buyers and public disclosure of their identities. For example, in August 2018, a gas station clerk in Randolph County was accused of offering a female customer money to have sex with him on multiple occasions. According to a report filed by a Lynn Police Department officer, a woman contacted him to say that she went into the gas station and the clerk offered her $500 to have sex with him and that “no one would have to know about it.” The woman told the officer the clerk then violently pulled her up to the counter and asked her numerous personal questions including whether she had been with an older man and if she had ever been paid for sex. The woman said after several minutes of uncomfortable questioning she was able to leave the gas station. According to the police report, the officer had that same woman return to the gas station on several other occasions while wearing a camera and each time the man offered a different amount of money for sex and invited her to his home. On the last meeting, the woman met the clerk outside the store away from the surveillance cameras and he offered her $35 for “mouth only” and $50 for two hours with her. The suspect was arrested shortly after that last meeting and was charged with public indecency, promoting prostitution, and patronizing prostitution. The man’s identity was included in news reports. The case is counted for Demand Forum purposes as a reverse sting operation since it involved an undercover operation intended to produce evidence allowing for the apprehension and prosecution of a sex buyer, but it was not a conventional reverse sting. It was not a proactive effort to capture multiple offenders responding to a police decoy; instead, it was a narrowly targeted effort to capture one sex buyer, using an actual victim.
In April 2021, a Randolph County man was indicted by a grand jury in another sex-offense investigation after previously being sentenced to 20 years in prison on six counts of child molesting involving his sexual abuse of two girls described as “preschoolers.” In the more recent case, the Randolph Circuit Court grand jury charged the man from Union City with three counts of promotion of human sexual trafficking, all Level 4 felonies carrying up to 12 years in prison. The indictments alleged that the man used “coercion” to persuade a person to engage in sex acts three times “in exchange for forgiveness of a gambling debt.”
- Randolph County Sheriff’s Office
- Randolph Circuit Court
- Lynn Police Department
Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.wrtv.com/randolph-county-gas-station-clerk-accused-of-offering-customer-money-for-sex (2018)
- https://randolphcounty.us/dinesh-k-patel (2018)
- https://www.thestarpress.com/police-store-clerk-offered-customer-money-sex (2018)
- https://www.thestarpress.com/randolph-molester-indicted-sex-trafficking-charges (2021)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: