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Valdosta is a city of about 56,000 residents in south central Georgia and is the county seat of Lowndes County. It is home to Valdosta State University. Prostitution and sex trafficking, including child sex trafficking, have been documented in the county, resulting in complaints from residents. Drugs have also been connected to the local commercial sex market.
Identity disclosure and partial employment loss are consequences of sex buying that have occurred in the city. In February 2020, a dean at Valdosta State University was among 14 men arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) for child sex-related crimes in Lowndes County. He was charged with sexual exploitation of children after trying to meet someone he believed was a minor for sex. The man’s identity was released to the press. He was stripped of his title and removed as dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at VSU following his arrest. The University President announced that the former dean, who was also a chemistry professor, would remain on paid administrative leave as a faculty member during an investigation, per University System of Georgia policy. However, because of his removal as dean of the college, that portion of his salary would be eliminated.
- Valdosta State University
- Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI)
Identity Disclosure, Employment Loss:
- https://wgxa.tv/news/local/valdosta-state-university-dean-among-14-busted-in-undercover-child-sex-sting (2020)
- https://www.ajc.com/news/crime–law/new-valdosta-state-dean-stripped-title-following-child-sex-sting-arrest (2020)
- https://www.valdostadailytimes.com/news/local_news/update-now-former-vsu-dean-bond-set-at-25k (2020)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- https://www.walb.com/story/valdosta-women-arrested-for-prostitution (2016)
- https://www.moultrieobserver.com/news/local_news/3-moultrians-charged-in-lowndes-county-prostitution-sting (2016)
- https://cdispatch.com/news/lowndes-deputies-arrest-eight-in-prostitution-sting (2017)
- https://www.wcbi.com/wcbi-exclusive-video-prostitution-sting-wraps-lowndes-county (2017)
- https://www.valdostadailytimes.com/lowndes-deputies-bust-prostitution-ring (2021)