Strongsville, OH

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

Strongsville is a city of about 45,000 residents in Cuyahoga County. Located in northeastern Ohio, it is a suburb of Cleveland. Sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation have been well-documented in the city and surrounding county, including cases of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) being created and distributed. This activity and related crimes have led to local efforts to educate the public about trafficking and how to protect kids online.

In December 2019, a local priest was arrested outside St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Strongsville, where he worked, for allegedly possessing child sexual abuse materials (i.e., child pornography). According to court documents, from 2017 to 2019 the man solicited sexually explicit images of minors online and engaged in sexual acts with minor victims in exchange for alcohol and other things of value. He used multiple fake online personas, including a teenage girl, and several social media platforms to contact minor victims, some of whom he knew through a parish where the children and their families were affiliated. He enticed three minor victims to send sexually explicit photographs and videos by threatening to expose embarrassing information about them if they did not send him more. He followed through on those threats on some occasions, sending photos to the victims’ mothers. He also used the social networking site to make contact with a minor victim for the purpose of engaging in a commercial sex act. He then enticed the victim to identify another minor victim with whom he could engage in commercial sex acts. The offender met the victims on multiple occasions for the purpose of engaging in sex acts in exchange for money and alcohol. Investigators found the man in possession of a laptop computer and external hard drive that contained hundreds of images and videos of CSAM, as well as a Dropbox cloud storage account where he stored more than 128,000 images of CSAM. In July 2021, the man pleaded guilty to two counts of sex trafficking of a minor, three counts of sexual exploitation of a child, and one count each of transportation of child pornography, receipt and distribution of visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to life in prison in November and was placed on administrative leave from the Diocese of Cleveland after his arrest.

Key Partners

  • Geauga County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Department of Homeland Security
    • Homeland Security Investigations
  • Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

State Ohio
Type City
Population 44675
Comments are closed.