East Palestine councilman busted in undercover sex sting
The Mahoning County human trafficking task force works undercover to bust anyone looking to engage in acts of prostitution, online.
Their latest catch Flavel Stewart, council member in East Palestine, responded to an ad on a known escort website of an adult female offering sex for hire.
"Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight of the work that's out there for us to do," said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene. "When we do this type of task force, at first maybe we were surprised a little bit, but now it's, you know, we're not really surprised anymore with who we end up seeing and having to arrest, through these initiatives," he said.
Stewart is charged with engaging in prostitution and possessing criminal tools.
Greene tells 21 News, after they're arrested, predators become easier to track down a second time.
"They get labeled as a sex offender and it just gives us more of a tracking ability of those individuals because many of them are repeat offenders," Greene said.
Greene tells 21 News, these types of situations are becoming all too common and those continuing to engage in these activities should be aware that consequences will follow.
"This isn't something we're just doing, you know, once in every great while," said Greene. "We're constantly out there and we're constantly posting ads and we're constantly looking to make these types of arrests," he said.
Stewart has resigned from his council position with the city. He also has to pay a $1400 dollar fine, do 50 hours of community service within seven months and will be on probation for the next 2 years.