Whitehall, 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

Whitehall is a city of approximately 20,000 residents, located in the southeastern suburbs of Columbus in Franklin County, Ohio. Local residents and law enforcement have reported problems with prostitution activity in the community for at least two decades. At least one case involving the sex trafficking of minors has been documented in Whitehall. In August 2014, a 38-year-old man was arrested and charged with “sex trafficking a minor and with coercing a minor into posing for child pornography” after “the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip that a [17-year-old] girl was being sexually exploited in Columbus. Police and members of the area’s human-trafficking task force investigated and found sexually explicit advertisements with the girl’s photograph on the internet.” Undercover officers then arranged to meet the two at a Whitehall motel by posing as an interested sex buyer. Once they arrived, the pimp was arrested and the girl was taken into custody and interviewed. In May 2015, the Columbus Dispatch reported that the man had been found guilty of coercing the girl to pose for pornographic images, but that the jury could not come to an agreement regarding the sex trafficking charge, resulting in a mistrial.

Cases of homicides of women involved in prostitution have also been reported. In 2001, a Whitehall resident was arrested and charged with three murders after “gloating to his Whitehall neighbors that he no longer was a suspect in the slayings of three women” he solicited on the south side of Columbus, then strangled and dumped in the surrounding area. The man was ultimately found guilty and given three life sentences in 2002.

In their efforts to reduce commercial sex activity and related crimes in Whitehall, local law enforcement have adopted some tactics that target sex buyers in addition to women and girls engaged in prostitution. In February 1989, for example, the Columbus Dispatch reported that the Whitehall Police Department had arrested seven sex buyers in a street-level reverse sting using a female police decoy. Police and city officials have also released the names of those arrested for soliciting prostitution since at least 1991.

Key Partners

  • Whitehall Police Department

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

  • “Whitehall Tougher on Prostitutes,” Columbus Dispatch, February 1 1989.

Identity Disclosure:

  • “Whitehall May Post Names in Prostitution-Related Convictions,” Columbus Dispatch, October 17 1991.
  • “Assistant Principal Focus of Solicitation Probe,” Columbus Dispatch, December 10 1991.

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Whitehall-Based Escort Service Denies Charges,” Columbus Dispatch, April 6 1990.
  • “Escort-Service Link, Tax Cheating Possible,” Columbus Dispatch, April 7 1990.
  • “Escort Service Wants Records Back,” Columbus Dispatch, April 25 1990.
  • “Ordinance Would Make Motels Pay for Prostitutes’ Sins,” Columbus Dispatch, April 25 1990.
  • “Law Makes Motel Owners Responsible for Prostitutes’ Sins,” Columbus Dispatch, May 23 1990.
  • “Whitehall Warns Motels to Keep Hookers Out,” Columbus Dispatch, June 7 1990.
  • “Prostitution Arrests Fall with Temperature, Police Say,” Columbus Dispatch, December 28 1991.
  • “Whitehall Folks May Soon Only Remember the Alamo,” Columbus Dispatch, November 7 1995.
  • “Second Motel Could Be Shut Down, Robert E. Lee Accused of Allowing Drug Sales, Prostitution,” Columbus Dispatch, November 9 1995.
  • “Blast out of History Hits E. Main Motels, Whitehall Uses Sherman Strategy to Close Five,” Columbus Dispatch, November 28 1995.
  • “Whitehall Hotel Targeted by City Shuts Voluntarily,” Columbus Dispatch, November 30 1995.
  • “Motel Crackdown, Whitehall Gets Tough against Code Violators,” Columbus Dispatch, December 29 1995.
  • “Property Owners Sue Whitehall, Crackdown on Crime Illegally Killed Businesses, Suit Says,” Columbus Dispatch, October 26 1999.
  • “Main Street Ripe for Development, City Officials Say,” Columbus Dispatch, April 26 2004.
  • https://www.nbc4i.com/news/local-news/columbus-whitehall-police-team-up-shut-down-two-alleged-drug-houses-brothel (2019)

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Man Held in Slayings of Two Women, Borrowed Truck Led Investigators to Whitehall Man,” Columbus Dispatch, November 29 2001.
  • “Suspect in Three Slayings Has History of Violence,” Columbus Dispatch, December 7 2001.
  • “Man Charged in Slayings of 3 Women,” Columbus Dispatch, December 8 2001.
  • “Man Indicted in Slayings of Three Women,” Canton Repository, December 9 2001.
  • “The Victims,” Columbus Dispatch, October 14 2002.
  • “3 Life Terms for Serial Killer,” Columbus Dispatch, August 28 2002.
  • “Fuhr Gets Three Life Sentences for Murders,” Columbus ThisWeek Community Newspapers, September 1 2002.
State Ohio
Type City
Population 20101
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