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Williamson County is a county of about 230,000 residents in Middle Tennessee, just south of Nashville. The county seat is Franklin. Other cities in the county that have worked to combat demand include Brentwood and Spring Hill. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the county, resulting in complaints from residents. The more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market include child sex trafficking and drugs.
In addition to the local reverse stings conducted in Franklin, Brentwood, and Spring Hill, identity disclosure has been used to combat demand on the county level. For example, in March 2021, a Williamson County Circuit Court Judge was removed from a case with a lawyer whom he suspected of revealing his secret arrest for patronizing prostitution. The judge hit the attorney and his legal partner with more than $700,000 in sanctions in the lawsuit, after which a state appellate court removed him from the bench on that case. The Williamson County judge had been caught in a prostitution sting in 2010, two years before he was elected to the bench. However, the former Davidson County General Sessions Court Judge, who himself was eventually revealed to trade court favors for sex and host trips with fellow judges and lawyers at which prostituted women were hired and marijuana was smoked, erased all record of the arrest the same day. In February 2017, an anonymous complaint to the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct about the secret expungement of the judge’s arrest became public when it was leaked to Nashville journalists. The Williamson County judge publicly vowed revenge against the attorney he suspected of leaking the information. Just weeks later, the judge filed more than $700,000 in contempt sanctions against the attorney and submitted complaints with the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility. An appellate court said there was no way the public could have faith in the judge’s fairness toward the attorney given his vow of revenge; the court struck down the sanctions order and ordered a new hearing before a new judge.
- Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct
- Williamson County Circuit Court
- Tennessee Court of Appeals
- https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/tennessee-appeals-court-pulls-judge-michael-binkley-casey-moreland-brian-manookian (2021)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- https://www.williamsonhomepage.com/news/williamson-county-not-immune-to-human-sex-trafficking (2015)
- https://www.williamsonherald.com/news/11-men-charged-with-sex-crimes-following-undercover-operation (2020)
Background on Prostitution in the Area: