Eight snared in prostitution sex sting

Locals lured into hotel get slapped with criminal charges
Jessica Cuffman
Mar 28, 2013

Undercover deputies slapped eight people with criminal charges Tuesday after staging a sex sting. 

Three of those charged are from Sandusky, while one is from Huron and one is a Norwalk resident.  

“We set it up online as a prostitution sting, for lack of a better term,” Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick said.

“People made contact with agents and arrangements were made, and we arrested them when they made a proposition.”

The deputies — both men and women —posed undercover to bait prostitutes, pimps and Johns who responded to an online ad. Working with the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, deputies charged eight people by day’s end. 

They lured them to a Portage Township hotel. 

All told, six people were charged with solicitation, one was charged with complicity to prostitution and one was charged with attempted solicitation.

The crimes are all misdemeanors.

Those charged with solicitation:

•  Thomas Erne, 63, Huron. 
•  Richard Stratton, 66, Norwalk.
•  Barry Lee, 61, Sandusky.
•  George Johnson, 55, Sandusky.
• Amanda Bigelow-Hogan, 26, Toledo.
• Jason Palmer, 40, Elmore.

Others charged:

• Daniel Weiss, 38, Flat Rock, Mich., complicity to prostitution. 
• Mark Day, 42, Sandusky, attempted soliciting.

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Sounds a lot like entrapment to me. Were the cops bored?

“We set it up online as a prostitution sting, for lack of a better term,”

"posed undercover to bait prostitutes, pimps and Johns who responded to an online ad."

"They lured them to a Portage Township hotel."

"The act of government agents or officials that induces a person to commit a crime he or she is not previously disposed to commit.

Entrapment is a defense to criminal charges when it is established that the agent or official originated the idea of the crime and induced the accused to engage in it."


One girl and seven guys?

John Harville

It's only entrapment if it gets you to do something outside your ordinary realm of behavior. It's a difficult defense.


I think that was stated before, JH.


With all the real crime going on why this?I know they had an armored vehicle behind the motel and a patrol boat in the lake in case someone tried to escape.I also know the mobile command center was ready near the scene.Fire trucks scattered around and dogs maybe a drone or two.$50,000 to set up the possible $1000 total fine collection and factor in court costs,public defenders and legal fees when someone sues.

BW1's picture

And all for something that is none of the government's business.



John Harville

Even if there is a 'ring'....how much does it matter if all involved are of legal age?

Darwin's choice

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Home Boy

Come on guys......go set up your "stings" for the drug dealers. That's the root of 90% of the crime in our area.


"The War on Sex"...lol..(just say no)

This should go nationwide.


What a complete joke. This is entrapment at it's finest. Your tax dollars at work people!

Julie R.

Was that legal?


Jules, I doubt it. If all the defendants pool the cash to get a low/mid-range attorney, they could at least get the case dismissed. If they went high dollar, just a guess, mind ya, they could OWN the TWP.


I'm sure Portage TWP. has a very great big "red light district". Probably comparable to Vegas or Amsterdam.




Why did they not wait until tourist season, then they could have entrapped many more. Waste of time and tax dollars, but they always whine about needing more money, more taxes, more personal, more everything.


I can see this if it involved minors, but sources are limited to go after adults doing what they do, typicaly without pay. If there was something going on where people were being ripped off, atacked, or such but just going after prostitution seems like an expense we can not afford at this time.


Agree. With all the drugs out there, you would have thought they would have spent our money on this. Instead, they "set up" a sting and caught some older men willing to pay for something that others give away for free.


Isn't prostitution considered the "oldest profession"?

Portage TWP is gonna stop it. Come hell or high water. lol

John Harville

Second oldest... farming is the oldest - unless you're raising your own prostitutes.


Do you have a girlfriend or wife, JH? Does she give or verbally ask/tell you and have a "honey do" list? If you don't, you ain't gettin' any. Promise.


This is a case of entrapment. Does anybody remember Rosie's and Round The Clock Grille in corrupt Ottawa County, Ohio? The local police and sheriff's office were paid off to look the other way.

"As the area’s most famous madam and operator of an equally famous house of ill repute in Ottawa County, she and a small army of accomplices were facing a major federal indictment that included numerous charges, including tax evasion, white slavery and bribery. It was a case that captured the public’s attention, offering a trial filled with steamy testimony, but also revealing the seamy and sordid underbelly of the prostituion trade and how the “Round the Clock Grille” on Woodville Road was able to evade criminal prosecution for so many years. The revelations would eventually bring down the sitting Ottawa County sheriff James Ellenberger and sent former Ottawa county sheriff Myron Hetrick to prison for helping to distribute tens of thousands of dollars in bribes."

Notice that it took the feds to bring the truth to light.

4-wheeler al

rosie gave money too the school,to help the kids. she gave alot of money to help the people in port clinton area.she was a good lady.all how you look prostituion street corners,back seats,cheep hotels bustem. rosies i bet she gave back half too the area where she live.


Mobster Al Capone helped the poor people.


Why don't we just legalize it and tax the hell out of it.

The Bizness



How about the sheriff concentrating on the drugs coming in from Canada across Lake Erie?


I was deleted for talking about a sac...Wow....and I try so hard to watch what I say on this site. I bite my lip extremely hard sometimes....Oh well..it was probably some pansy man that deleted my comment. Perhaps he should try some vagisil.


It's all attractive once the lights go out!


Or at 2AM when the bar closes : )