Stafford, VA

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

Stafford is a small city of about 4,300 residents within Stafford County, Virginia, located along the state’s northern border. Prostitution has been identified by law enforcement as a problem in the city and throughout the county, and residents have frequently complained to police. For example, in April, 2019, three people were arrested in Stafford in connection with a prostitution ring. Deputies with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office responded to a disturbance at hotel on Simpson Road and learned several women were being employed as prostitutes at hotels in the area. The key suspect had recruited several women to perform sex acts for money and split the profits with them. He also promised to provide the women with drugs. During the investigation, the pimp had unwittingly agreed to supply two women to work in prostitution to an undercover detective. He was taken into custody at a hotel, and was later charged with multiple counts of receiving money from the earnings of a prostitute and was held at Rappahannock Regional Jail without bond. Human trafficking of adults and minors has also occurs in the county, facilitated by its location along the Interstate 95 corridor, and by internet communications. Local prostitution and sex trafficking cases have also involved exploiting minors with disabilities, and the production of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often called “child prostitution” in state legal codes).

In response to such concerns, police have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex. In 1991, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office began using street-level reverse stings to identify and apprehend local sex buyers. Operations typically utilize undercover female officers as decoys. Once arrested, sex buyers may have their names and other identifying information released to the media. More recently, web-based reverse stings have been conducted, some of which involve investigators posing as minors and arresting predators seeking to purchase access to sexually abuse children. For example, in March 2012, Stafford detectives conducted a web-based reverse sting to arrest a man attempting to solicit sex from a minor. The man contacted an undercover officer he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, and was intercepted when he arranged to meet the officer for paid sexual abuse at a Stafford hotel.

Not all arrests of sex buyers are the product of proactive stings using police decoys; instead, some occur in response to allegations against offenders with real victims.  For example, in February, 2019, a suspect was arrested by the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office on charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution. The suspect was a track coach and security officer at Colonial Forge High School. He was taken into custody on three felony warrants for soliciting a minor for prostitution. He was later convicted and ordered to serve four years in prison for trying to lure male students into prostitution. The man was sentenced in Stafford Circuit Court to a total of 22 and a half years, with all but four years suspended. He was previously convicted of three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and three counts of soliciting prostitution.

In August, 2022, the former chief of a Stafford County volunteer fire department was indicted on four felony charges, three of which carry potential life sentences: three counts of forcible sodomy, and engaging a minor in prostitution. The man was accused of molesting a teenage boy between 2016 and 2017, when the defendant was a volunteer with the Hartwood Volunteer Fire Department, and was the chief of the Brooke Volunteer Fire Department when he was arrested in 2021. The first incident took place at a home in Remington. The victim said that after he passed out, he woke up naked and tied to a bed while the suspect was standing over him with a digital camera. He claimed that the man threatened to make the pictures public if the teen refused to continue engaging in sexual activities. Subsequent incidents occurred in Stafford, as well as Fauquier, VA. Court filings aimed at obtaining the victim’s mental health records described the victim as a “seriously impaired young man who has been in and out of legal trouble since at least his early teens,” abused illegal drugs and alcohol throughout his life. The offender’s identity was publicly disclosed.

Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the county. For example, the coach arrested in 2018 had his employment was terminated soon after his arrest.

Key Partners

  • Stafford County Sheriff’s Office
  • Colonial Forge High School

Key Sources

Arrest of Sex Buyers; Identity Disclosure; Loss of Employment:

Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related Drug Offenses, CSAM, Victimizing Persons with Disabilities:


State Virginia
Type City
Population 4320
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