South Bend, IN
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South Bend is a city of approximately 100,000 residents, located in north-central Indiana. Prostitution has been identified as a substantial problem in the city since the 1980s. Business owners and residents have reported an increase in commercial sex sales in recent years, with activities centered in the northwest part of the city. Sex trafficking cases involving teens, and prostitution-related robberies, have also been documented in the city.
In an effort to identify and apprehend sex buyers, the South Bend Police Department began conducting street-level reverse stings in 1991. Operations in the 1990s typically deployed an undercover female officer, who served as a decoy for street prostitution. When sex buyers attempted to solicit sex from her, they were quickly arrested.
In 2013, the South Bend Police Department conducted its first reverse sting using social media. The sting operation began in response to the department receiving complaints and tips about people using www.southbendbackpage.com for the solicitation of prostitution. The complaints had specific locations in South Bend, including apartments, hotels and rental properties being used. The sting operation took place through the website, with officers setting up a fake contact and cell phone number on the site. The men then contacted the fake number, set prices and services, and then met police at a hotel located on Lincoln Way W., South Bend. The arrested men were charged with solicitation of a prostitute. After the 2013 web based operation, South Bend Police Chief Ronald Teachman released a statement in which he said:
“As the sex for a fee industry moves from the streets to online, we adjust our demand reduction tactics accordingly. I hope this operation and those that will follow send a message to potential customers: The women of South Bend are cherished and they are not for sale.”
In 2000, a news report discussed a South Bend-area “john school” program. The program was described as an eight-hour session where “the consequences of soliciting a prostitute, as well as health risks and the impact such behavior has on people and families” are discussed. It was structured as a pretrial diversion option with a community service component (like the Norfolk and Indianapolis programs). The program was reportedly modeled after the San Francisco john school.
Employment loss is another consequence of sex buying that has occurred in the city. In May 2022, a well-known youth hockey coach was arrested in a child sex trafficking sting in Berrien County, Michigan. The man thought he was meeting a 15-year-old girl for sex, which was agreed to in exchange for $80 and some soda, but was instead arrested after arriving at the agreed upon location. His identity and mugshot were released to the press. At the time of his arrest, the man was the Director of Hockey Operations at the IceBox Skating Rink in South Bend, the coach of the Irish Youth Hockey League at the IceBox, and the coach of the travel team North American Alliance Hockey Club, which he and his wife ran. After his arrest, an email sent to families from the Irish Youth Hockey League confirmed the man was no longer the Director of Hockey Operations at the IceBox.
- South Bend Police Department
- St. Joseph County Prosecutor
- South Gateway Association
- IceBox Skating Rink
- Irish Youth Hockey League
Street-Level Reverse Stings and Auto Seizure:
- “Solicitors of Prostitutes Could Get Cars Impounded”, Warsaw Times-Union, July 1 1993.
- “Four Facing Charges in Prostitution Case,” South Bend Tribune, February 27 1998.
- “Court Dates Set after Prostitution Arrests,” South Bend Tribune, April 16 1999.
- “NEST Nets 11 Men, All Alleged ‘Johns’; Second Police Sting This Year Targets South Michigan Street Area,” South Bend Tribune, September 26 2003.
- “South Bend Police Sting More ‘Johns’; Seven Arrested after Soliciting Officer Posing as Prostitute,” South Bend Tribune, November 1 2003.
- “Hooker Sting; E.C. Mayor’s Son Arrested by South Bend Female Cop Posing as Prostitute,” Gary Post-Tribune, September 1 2004.
- “Men Nabbed in Prostitution Sting”, South Bend Tribune, August 3 2007.
- “ND Football Player to Be Arraigned on Prostitution Charges”, South Bend Tribune, August 15 2007.
- “Prostitution Ring Nabs Three for Soliciting”, South Bend Tribune, September 28 2012.
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
Neighborhood Action and Identity Disclosure:
Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:
- https://realnewsmichiana.com/read-the-docs-youth-hockey-coach-arrested-for-attempting-to-have-sex-with-child-prostitute (2022)
- Arrest Document (2022)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Judge Won’t Hear Prostitution Case Unless Male Cited”, Rochester Sentinel, November 6 1976.
- “Three Arrests Made in Prostitution Cases,” South Bend Tribune, July 3 1998.
- “Prostitution Stings Net Three Arrests,” South Bend Tribune, April 22 1999.
- “Guilty Plea Entered in Escort Service Case,” South Bend Tribune, July 23 1999.
- “Briefs,” South Bend Tribune, December 24 2003.
- “Police Arrest Seven Women in Prostitution Sting,” South Bend Tribune, March 30 2004.
- “Breaking News Briefs,” South Bend Tribune, October 31 2004.
- “Police Briefs,” South Bend Tribune, November 2 2004.
- “Resident Jailed in ‘Escort Service’; Authorities Believe Business Was a Front for Prostitution,” South Bend Tribune, February 17 2005.
- “Prostitution Problems Plague Parts of City”, South Bend Tribune, September 27 2006.
- “Briefs,” South Bend Tribune, July 28 2007.
- “Area Briefs,” South Bend Tribune, November 17 2007.
- “New Rules Target Illicit Massage Parlors”, South Bend Tribune, November 4 2012.
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
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