Waynesville is a city of about 10,000 residents located between the Great Smokey and Blue Ridge mountains, about 20 miles west of Asheville, North Carolina. Police have been conducting reverse stings since 1997 and began conducting web-based reverse stings since 2005. In one web-based reversal, Waynesville police used a house in Hazelwood as a meeting place for takedowns. Men responding to a decoy craigslist ad drove from as far as Charlotte or from Tennessee. An undercover female officer met the men at the door, while a surveillance team waited in a back room. The operation resulted in the arrests of seven men, including one Episcopal priest. One of the men appeared after arranging to have sex with a 12 to 14 year old girl.
In May, 2019, numerous women came forward to report to police their concerns that a specific man was following them, making lewd and inappropriate comments toward them and on several occasions offering them money for sex. In addition, several complaints were received from business owners and other concerned citizens about incidents they had witnessed. The suspect was arrested in June 2019 after offering to pay an undercover officer for sex. He was later placed on supervised probation after pleading guilty in in Haywood County court to two counts of stalking and one count of soliciting prostitution. Along with being placed on supervised probation, he was ordered to have no contact with any victims. What not a typical SOAP order, the offender was ordered to stay away from certain areas, defined by the location of the victim rather than by a specific area of the city.
- Waynesville Police Department
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Shaming, Stay-Away Orders:
- “Two Local Men Charged with Prostitution,” Crossroads Chronicle, September 19 2007.
- “Waynesville PD Net 6 Arrests in Internet Sex Sting,” Smoky Mountain News, September 19 2007.
- https://www.smokymountainnews.com/news/item/27116-waynesville-man-arrested-for-solicitation-stalking (2019)
- https://www.themountaineer.com/news/man-pleads-guilty-to-stalking-soliciting-prostitution/ (2019)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Mother Arrested for Running Prostitution Business from Home,” Waynesville Mountaineer, December 30 2015.