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Sidney is a small city of roughly 20,000 residents, located south of Lima in west-central Ohio’s Shelby County. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the city and surrounding areas, including a local massage parlor being shut down by the sheriff’s office after a human trafficking investigation. Among its efforts to reduce prostitution in the community, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has conducted a couple reverse stings. For example, in November 2013, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation after years of neighborhood complaints and noticeable ads on Craigslist. Deputies set up video cameras and license plate readers during the 60-day investigation, which resulted in the arrest of nine men who engaged in sexual activity at the Lockington Reserve. The men were charged with public indecency, a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. The names, ages, and hometowns of the arrestees were released to the public. One of the men arrested was the editor of the Sidney Daily News for 41 years. He resigned from his position after his arrest.
In December 2014, SCSO deputies and officers from the Dayton Police Department placed a decoy advertisement to a website known for commercial sex sales. A female undercover agent then arranged to meet the men who replied to the listing at a local motel. Three sex buyers were arrested and charged with solicitation as a result; all of their names, ages, and home addresses were publicized by local press outlets. Notably, two of the offenders were also charged with possession of criminal tools.
In November 2016, a former Ohio State Trooper and retired Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Deputy charged with soliciting and possessing criminal tools was indicted on a charge of promoting prostitution as well. The man was accused of inducing a female “to engage in sexual activity for money in an effort to establish a brothel or other enterprise,” a fourth-degree felony. The man was arrested in October after a sting operation involving a known woman in prostitution in the area. The woman had been picked up in another crime and informed law enforcement that one of her sex buyers was a former officer. Police equipped her with a recording device and she set up a meeting with him for the sting operation. The man had previously been caught looking at pornographic material on his government-issued computer. His name, age, and hometown were released to the public.
- Shelby County Sheriff’s Office
- Dayton Police Department
- Sidney Police Department
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.limaohio.com/archive/news-news-sex-sting-operation-followed-years-of-complaints (2013)
- “Troy Man Arrested in Undercover Sting,” Troy Daily News, December 10 2014.
- “Three Arrested in Undercover Operation,” Sidney Daily News, December 11 2014.
- “Three Busted in Undercover Prostitution Bust,” Bellefontaine Examiner, December 12 2014.
- https://www.sidneydailynews.com/news/steinke-indicted-on-new-felony-prostitution-related-charge (2016)
- https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/crime–law/retired-shelby-county-deputy-indicted-for-soliciting-prostitute (2016)
Cameras, Employment Loss:
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Two Arrested for Internet Prostitution,” Sidney Daily News, October 22 2010.
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- https://www.justice.gov/shelby-county-man-pleads-guilty-sending-money-filipino-mothers-exchange-child (2021)
- https://www.justice.gov/shelby-county-man-sentenced-27-years-prison-sending-money-filipino-mothers-exchange (2021)
- https://dayton247now.com/news/local/sidney-massage-parlor-under-investigation (2022)
- https://www.whio.com/sidney-business-shut-down-following-human-trafficking-investigation (2022)
- https://www.sidneydailynews.com/news/oasis-spa-suspected-of-human-trafficking (2022)
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