St. Clair County, AL

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

St. Clair County is a county in central Alabama, located within the Birmingham, AL metropolitan area, with a population of roughly 93,00 residents. It has two county seats: Ashville and Pell City. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity has been well-documented within the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market are sex trafficking, child endangerment, and violence committed against people involved in these transactions. For example, in May 2017, a local librarian and coach was stabbed to death in what began as a prostitution agreement. The defendant told officers that the two had an arrangement wherein they would meet every third weekend, at which point the librarian would pay the defendant $250 to strip, dance, and take photos. The agreement began in August 2016 and continued until April 2017, when the defendant claimed the meetings stopped after the librarian began asking for more than what was agreed upon. According to the defendant, the final appointment occurred in August 2017, and turned fatal after the defendant refused the librarian’s request to participate in oral sex. The defendant initially stated that murder was an act of self-defense after the librarian, angered by the defendant’s refusal, stabbed and put a pistol to the defendant’s head. The defendant then admitted to stabbing the victim more than 70 times in addition to strangling the victim until he was no longer moving. During the trial, the defendant changed his story by alleging that the librarian had raped him and out of rage the defendant grabbed a knife from his car and stabbed the victim to death. The investigation began after the principal reported the victim’s absence from work to local authorities. In 2019, the defendant plead guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies in their strategy for prevention and response. To combat the array of problems stemming from commercial sex, local law enforcement agencies have been known to conduct reverse sting operations. For example, in May 2017, the Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force conducted the first Operation Standing Guard in Jefferson, Shelby, and St. Clair counties. The three-day operation resulted in six warrants being served, five individuals being arrested, and four child victims of sex trafficking being identified. Operation Standing Guard is a series of operations that target individuals who communicate online with minors and travel to meet them for the purpose of sexual abuse, individuals who are willing to exploit minors by purchasing access to sexually abuse them, and individuals who produce, possess, and/or distribute child pornography (i.e., child sexual abuse materials). The identities, photos, ages, locations, and charges of arrested offenders were included in reports from local news sources.

In November 2017, St. Clair County law enforcement agencies participated Operation Standing Guard II, a five-day operation once again targeting child predators. ALEA’s Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force announced charges against two men arrested during Operation Standing Guard II, which occurred in the Birmingham area. During the initiative, ICAC seized 100 electronic devices, carried out eight search warrants, identified 22 children that were being sexually exploited through social media, and initiated two sexual assault cases. In November 2017, the Georgia ICAC Task Force conducted a joint operation with the Alabama ICAC Task Force called Operation Hidden Guardian. The Georgia ICAC Task Force arrested 21 suspects, with seven cases involving Alabama citizens who had traveled from Alabama to Columbus, GA with the expectation of sexually abusing a child. The identities, photos, ages, locations, and charges of arrested offenders were included in reports from local news sources.

State Alabama
Type County
Population 92748
Comments are closed.