West Rutland, VT

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

West Rutland is a town in Rutland County, western Vermont. Its population is about 2,200. Prostitution and sex trafficking in the Rutland area and throughout the state have been very well documented.  For example, in November, 2016, a man sentenced to 12 years in prison on drug and sex trafficking charges after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine in Rutland, Vermont, and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking women between Vermont and New York. The man also pleaded guilty to sex trafficking five women, including four from Vermont, between 2012 and 2015. Prosecutors said the offender worked with a number of women who helped him sell and transport drugs, and when they became addicted and dependent upon him, he forced some to prostitute themselves. If they refused, he would withhold drugs, hit, or threaten to hit them.

Sex buyers, who drive all prostitution and sex trafficking, have been arrested and their identities disclosed in West Rutland.  For example, in February, 2022, an adult male, aged 31 (self identified as a lesbian girl, aged 11) was arrested on charges of attempting to entice a minor into sexual activity after being caught in a law enforcement sting targeting child predators. The suspect from West Rutland appeared in federal court in January 2022, where the court heard that the defendant exchanged sexually explicit messages with undercover law enforcement officers for weeks before traveling from Vermont to Warren County with an engagement ring, condoms, and gifts for what he believed was an 11 year-old girl. The charge against the person was based on an affidavit written by an FBI Special Agent who specializes in investigating the sex trafficking of minors. In the affidavit, the agent said that an undercover officer pretending to be the guardian of an 11-year-old girl in foster care posted on a social networking site in December, 2021 using terms “commonly associated with individuals seeking to find children for sexual purposes.” The officer received a reply from a person who law-enforcement officers believe is the defendant. The undercover agent then began exchanging messages acknowledging that he was 31 but identified as a “middle,” which he described as identifying as a teenager, and said he didn’t want to “get arrested for sexual stuff with minors.” The suspect was sent several photos of an undercover agent that had been digitally manipulated to make her resemble an 11-year-old girl.  The suspect suggested having sexual contact with the child.  If convicted, the man faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison, and would be required to register as a sex offender.

Key Partners

  • FBI, Albany Field Office
  • Mid-State Child Exploitation Task Force
  • United States Attorney’s Office, Northern New York

Key Sources

Disclosing Identity of Arrested Sex Buyer:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State Decriminalization of Prostitution:

State Vermont
Type City
Population 2167
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