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Woodstock is a city of approximately 26,000 residents in Northeastern Illinois. It is the government seat of McHenry County, IL, and is located about 50 miles northwest of Chicago. Prostitution and sex trafficking (and associated violence) are well-documented problems in the region, generating residential complaints to local law enforcement. For example, on May 18, 2011, a 26-year-old Woodstock man called 911 and claimed that a man had broken into his home and that he shot the intruder. A subsequent investigation revealed that the defendant had placed a prostitution advertisement on “Craigslist” for his pregnant wife. After answering the advertisement, the defendant shot the male sex buyer after a disagreement with a .38 caliber handgun. Thereafter, the investigation revealed that the defendant staged the scene to make it look like a break-in. During a subsequent interview, the defendant variously claimed that the shooting was an accident and was an act of self-defense. In 2013, the male defendant was convicted of first degree murder, but the conviction was overturned in 2015 after defendants revealed that the male sex buyer had become violent with the female defendant after refusing to engage in commercial sex with him. As a result of the new information, an appellate court in Illinois said jurors in the case should have been allowed to convict Smith on a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter and overturned his conviction. In 2018, the defendant was subsequently convicted, and was sentenced to 50 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the offense of first degree murder.
Local law enforcement agencies have used tactics that have targeted consumer-level demand. For example, in September 2019, three male sex buyers were arrested and charged with misdemeanor solicitation of a sex act following a sex trafficking sting in Woodstock. All three men were released from police custody after posting bail, and each was identified in news reports. The operation was planned, coordinated and executed by the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office’s Human Trafficking Task Force, which consists of police officers from Algonquin, Cary, Crystal Lake, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, McHenry, Woodstock, and Illinois State Police. It was reported that it was the first operation of its kind locally.
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.lakemchenryscanner.com/three-men-arrested-during-human-trafficking-sting-in-woodstock (2019)
- https://wrex.com/three-men-arrested-in-mchenry-co-human-trafficking-sting (2019)
- https://www.thewoodstockindependent.comhuman-trafficking-sting-in-woodstock-leads-to-three-arrests (2019)
- https://patch.com/illinois/crystallake/mchenry-county-human-trafficking-sting-results-3-arrests (2019)
- https://www.lakemchenryscanner.com/human-trafficking-task-force-arrests-4-men-during-prostitution-sting-in-crystal-lake (2020)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- https://abc7chicago.com/archive (2011)
- https://www.woodstockil.gov/sites/police/page/press_release_-_prostitution_arrest (2016)
- https://www.foxnews.com/us/illinois-man-convicted-again-for-killing-man-who-answered-craigslist-ad-for-sex-with-his-pregnant-wife (2018)
- https://www.mchenrycountyil.gov/Home/Components/News (2018)
- https://www.nwherald.com/crystal-lake-police-charge-3-with-prostitution-after-discovering-illegal-massage-therapy-businesses/atnvyqi (2019)
- https://www.lakemchenryscanner.com/women-charged-with-prostitution-stings-at-crystal-lake-spas (2019)
- https://www.nwherald.com/crystal-lake-woman-sent-to-prison-prostitution-setup-cab-driver-robbery (2019)
- https://meaww.com/man-shoots-customer-who-showed-up-after-he-allegedly-advertised-his-pregnant-wife-on-craigslist (2020)
- https://www.nugget.ca/news/local-news/three-charged-in-woodstock-human-trafficking-probe-police (2022)
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