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Sandwich is a city of approximately 7,000 residents that is located in both DeKalb County, IL and Kendall County, IL. Instances of prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the city. Commercial sex activity, conducted at street-level, online, and within local businesses, has been reported in the community and has generated complaints from city residents. For example, in 2020, the Sandwich Police Department arrested a 51 year-old man accused of patronizing a minor to engage in prostitution and distributing harmful materials to minors on a $20,000 bond warrant. Police believed that the sex buyer was using social media applications such as Discord to communicate with minors. According to court documents, the offender allegedly engaged in sexual abuse activity with a 17 year-old in exchange for a Titan X Pascal gaming graphics card valued at about $1,500 in October 2016. In addition to the felony charge of patronizing a minor to engage in prostitution, the sex buyer was also charged with two counts of misdemeanor distributing harmful materials to a minor. He was transferred from the Sandwich police to the DeKalb County Jail until his trial. At the time of the last report, the investigation was ongoing as police believed there were additional victims. The offender’s identity was released by police to local news sources.
Identity disclosure and loss of employment are also consequences of sex buying in the city. For example, in May 2019, the Former Mayor of Sandwich was one of nine men arrested during a prostitution sting conducted by the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office. According to the LaSalle County Sheriff, an initial investigation conducted in 2016 that resulted in the arrest of three prostituted women was prompted by complaints from area residents about prostitution and possible drug activity. The second investigation by officials in 2019 was focused on targeting men seeking to engage in commercial sex:
“This investigation was aimed at deterring both parties involved in prostitution and highlight the dangers prostitutes and ‘johns’ face when they engage in such activity. This undercover investigation focused on the link between prostitution and the use of illegal drugs in this area and the crimes that are directly related to it, such as robbery, battery, homicide, etc.”
The LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office and Tri-DENT Drug Task Force worked together with the Ottawa Police Department and the Peru Police Department. The nine men were arrested for misdemeanor solicitation of a sexual act and were subsequently released. All nine men received notifications regarding their court date through the mail. According to reports, the week following his arrest, the former mayor submitted a letter of resignation. The sex buyer had been the Mayor of Sandwich since 2013 and was Police Chief prior to serving as mayor. In July 2019, the Former Sandwich Mayor pleaded guilty to a Class A misdemeanor Solicitation of a Sexual Act charge resulting in a fine of $750 and one year court-supervised probation.
Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/ct-abn-sandwich-mayor-charged-prostitution-sting (2019)
- https://week.com/nine-men-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2019)
- https://www.wspynews.com/news/local/ex-sandwich-mayor-pleads-guilty-to-charge-of-solicitation-of-a-sexual-act-fined-750 (2019)
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area: