Wichita County, TX

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

Wichita County is located northern Texas. Its population is approximately 132,000, most of which reside in the city of Wichita Falls.  The county abuts Sheppard Air Force Base. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city of Wichita Falls and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Wichita County.  This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems associated with commercial sex in the area include child sex trafficking. For example, in 2014 several suspects in a prostitution and human trafficking investigation were arrested, and charged with compelling prostitution by a juvenile and trafficking of a person. Police reported that a routine traffic stop led to the arrests of two people who were apart of an organized prostitution ring working in Wichita Falls, Vernon and other areas. A DPS Trooper says he searched the vehicle and found maps, hotel book coupons, and other items that led him to believe the two were part of a prostitution ring. DPS and the Department of Homeland Security launched an investigation, and said the two were advertising escort services on a website, and that the female suspect assisted the male to” recruit and train” a juvenile in their prostitution service. There have also been local cases of sex trafficking of children involving the production of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often referred to in state law as “child pornography”). For example, in August, 2021, a Wichita County grand jury indicted two people on charges relating to a child pornography and sex trafficking investigation, on charges including trafficking of a person, possession of child pornography, possession with the intent to promote lewd visual material depicting a child. The investigation started in an effort to recover a missing child from Wichita County. One defendant had allegedly transported the child to Houston for prostitution. Further investigation revealed that man and a conspirator planned to benefit monetarily by trafficking the child for prostitution. Other crimes occurring during local prostitution transactions include drug and weapons offenses.

To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all commercial sex and trafficking. For example, in July, 2017, three men were arrested during a reverse sting in Wichita Falls, when they showed up as arranged after being contacted by a cooperating witness working with the Wichita Falls Police Department’s Organized Crime Unit. Investigators said of the men each agreed to pay between $80 to $130 dollars, depending on the sexual act. In October 2017, a joint sting operation involving Texas DPS, several local law enforcement agencies, and the FBI targeting online child predators resulted in ten Wichita Falls area suspects being arrested and placed in the Wichita County jail.  Four were charged with compelling prostitution from victims under age 18, and six were charged with online solicitation of a minor.  The identities of the men were publicly disclosed.

Sex buyers have also been arrested as the result of investigating allegations against real victims, rather than during reverse stings using police decoys.  For example, in April, 2022, a Farmersville man who pretended to be a healthcare provider in a fake medical program has pleaded guilty to compelling prostitution by fraud, according to court documents. the man was freed from the Wichita County Law Enforcement Center on a $40,000 bond.  He had pleaded guilty to a Nov. 5, 2019, incident in which he told a woman that she could make money by taking part in training for medical students. He went to the woman’s home in Wichita County and did an “exam” that included touching her breast, and he paid her $50 for participating, according to court records. A Texas Ranger conducted a probe in early 2020 after the Clay County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance in investigating a possible sexual assault. A woman told the Sheriff’s Office she went to Benedict’s Clay County home in January, 2020, and he told her she would be paid to take part in a medical program. The woman reported he had her disrobe, did an “exam” and paid her $100 afterward. The man’s identity was disclosed in news reports.   In a separate incident in May, 2022, a Wichita Falls man was taken into custody after allegedly driving to Lucy Park to pay for paid sex. He was arrested and charged for solicitation of prostitution.  Officers with WFPD’S Organized Crime Unit reportedly saw a woman get into a car the man was driving. According to an arrest affidavit, they followed the car from the 2300 block of Seymour Highway to 100 Sunset Dr. in Lucy Park, where the car reportedly parked in a secluded area and put a sunshade in the front windshield. The officers approached the car believing there was an act of prostitution taking place. There was $70 on the car’s center console, according to an arrest affidavit. When the two parties were separated and interviewed, the woman reportedly alleged that the man had offered her $80 to perform a sexual act. The man said he was friends with her and admitted to a sexual act but didn’t say he had offered the woman money.

Employment loss is another local consequence of buying sex.  For example, in February, 2023, a former Wichita County deputy on trial for several charges took a plea deal, and was convicted of felony solicitation of prostitution and violation of civil rights of a person in custody, and six counts of the misdemeanor offense of official oppression. He was sentenced to 10 years for one felony and two years for the other, as well as a year in the county jail for each misdemeanor. The sentences were then suspended and the man was placed on a five-year period of community supervision. The man was previously fired from his county position, and surrendered his Texas Peace Officer’s license for life. As a result of his sentencing, and he will not hold a position in law enforcement again. The man accused of inappropriately touching at least one person while he was acting in his capacity as a deputy. The indictment also alleges he made unwanted sexual advances and sexually harassed people while acting as a deputy.

Key Partners

  • Wichita County Sheriff’s Office
  • Wichita Falls Police Department
    • Organized Crime Unit
  • Wichita County District Attorney’s Office
  • Wichita County Jail
  • Texas DPS
  • FBI
  • Department of Homeland Security

Key Sources

Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:

Arrest of Sex Buyers, Identity Disclosure:

Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, CSAM, Related Crimes (e.g., Drugs, Weapons):

State Texas
Type County
Population 132154
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