More than 30 law enforcement agencies participated in Operation Fourth and Goal, which netted 104 arrests of individuals on human trafficking related charges. Above, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost spoke about the operation.
At least two Marysville men were among the more than 100 arrested last week as part of an operation aimed at eliminating human trafficking.
Scott W. Fierro and James M. Good were among 104 individuals arrested last week as part of an operation named “Fourth and Goal.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the operation was a partnership of more than 30 law enforcement agencies and social service organizations.
Yost said 24 men were arrested for attempting to meet and have sex with a minor.
Fierro and Good were among those men.
As part of a press conference Friday, Major Steven Tucker with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said all of the men went to a home believing they were meeting with a child.
Tucker explained that each of the men chatted online with a member of law enforcement posing as a juvenile. He said all of the men believed they were chatting with a child.
Tucker said all 24 men arrived at a location believing they were there to have sex with the child.
“We make sure there is no mistake about that,” Tucker said.
Scott W. Fierro, 38, of 1441 Woodline Dr., Marysville, is charged with one count each of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and importuning, both felonies. If convicted, Fierro could face as many as 30 months in prison.
James M. Good, 33, of 608 Kenny Lane, Marysville, is charged with one count each of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and importuning, both felonies. If convicted, Good could face as many as 30 months in prison.
Yost said that in addition to targeting internet crimes against children, the operation also arrested men looking to buy sex and women looking to sell it.
In addition to the 24 men charged with crimes against children, an additional 36 men were arrested on solicitation charges, and 43 women were arrested and referred to Franklin County’s CATCH (Changing Actions to Change Habits) Court and other agencies to get them help with addiction and mental-health issues.
“This operation demonstrates the varying dynamics of sex trafficking operating within our community,” Columbus Police Sgt. Mark Rapp, director of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force said. “Street prostitution is only a small part of a much larger complex sex trafficking issue.”
In a statement about the operation, Delaware County Prosecutor Melissa Schiffel noted that this is not just a city problem.
“Human trafficking happens in our backyard every day.”
She added, “saving these victims and prosecuting these criminals one person at a time is vital in our fight to end human trafficking.”
Yost said what happens between consenting adults is not the government’s business but he “categorically rejects” the idea that prostitution is between consenting adults. Instead, he called it “slavery.”
“You have no idea if that consent is genuine or if there’s someone in the next room or in the parking lot with a baseball bat or a knife or the next hit of heroin,” he said.
The attorney general said human trafficking is a national problem, “but you can see by the results of this operation what Ohio is doing for its part.”
“Here is the message: ‘Don’t buy sex in Ohio,’” Yost said.
Officials at the press conference also had advice for parents and guardians.
“Parents and guardians need to be aware what websites, activities or messaging applications their children are using and actively teach them the dangers of the internet,” Yost said.
Tucker told parents to, “please talk to your children.”
“Please know what they’re doing online. Set the rules. Be the parent. Be the parent. Know who they’re talking to. You’re entitled to ask. You’re entitled to know. The children need to know, you can’t trust everybody. Not every adult is trustworthy.”
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