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.

2cents's picture

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!

2cents's picture

Or at 2AM when the bar closes : )

2cents's picture

Did she take his AARP card?


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


but 2 year old boys aren't tricks..........yet.


All of you are fools. Most of the people in these stings have a terrible cycle of drugs and other illegal acts. Good for the S.O., keep it up.


So what if they do. Prostitution is a victimless crime! Do you really think this is a good use of time and money?

2cents's picture

(victimless crime)

Not always deer! Pimps and rip off customers can cause issues, then there are crimes commited. Remember the place on RT 250? Even the cops went there.I say legalize it as well.


Who calls the cops on a pro? Pimps are a thing of the past. Women wised up!


Question deertracker: Have you ever researched this issue? Or are you speaking from unsupported opinion?

John Harville

Then go after drugs.

Note: You seem to be an artist at generalizations - branding their 'terrible cycle'. Does story say who was 'buying' and who was 'selling'?

Colonel Angus

Getting paid to have sex is only illegal if you aren't a superintendent or principal I guess. Good to know.


Charge the cops for impersonating a pimp.


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


66 year old bazoombaz can't be attractive either.


Dust it off and polish it a little. :) I'm sure it would shine up again.


LOL..don't bother the 66 year old woman with dusting and shining(unless of course you're talking about household chores)
Just pay some young drug addict for sexual pleasure....and pray to not get Hepatitis ...

Julie R.

"Charge the cops for impersonating a pimp."

That was tooooo funny.


The old guy is H.R @ factory in bellevue

2cents's picture


bored reader

Yes, was!!!


What motel in Portage twp is open in the winter? I also agree legalize it & tax the crap out of it.


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

oh gee. I didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings. :)


Amanda Bigelow female gigolo... hahahahahaha


You mean gigoho? Lol


Okay, so prostitution is okay? What about human sex trafficing? What is wrong with people thinking its okay for a "pimp" to sell a persons body to men? Here is the thing, one person of that group is a Bowling Green State University instructor. Barry Lee is no longer a creadable source. How could students ever want to have a reccomendation from him? He is no longer a credible reference or role model. Students, especially girls, are going to feel uncomfortable if the university decides to keep this instructor. What kind of image is BGSU going to leave? I know as a student, I will not be attending this university if it is decided to keep him as an instructor.


You must be a RepubliCON!

BW1's picture

No at will transaction between adults is any of the government's business.
PERIOD. Stop trying to force YOUR morality on others.


These stings are not considered entrapment because the the customer(john)actually has to initiate a money transfer or at least agree verbally to trade money for sex. I would imagine wording the advertisement a certain way would completely prevent defendants from claiming entrapment, especially once a verbal agreement has been made.

The thing about online prostitution is prostitutes usually don't post an advertisement that says "call me at 555-555-5555 to exchange sex for money". Prostitutes have to play word games in an attempt to avoid prosecution. These same word games are what allow police to post the same vague ads, get responders and avoid a possible entrapment plea.



"Entrapment occurs when police officers and/or confidential informants give the alleged offender an opportunity to commit criminal conduct. The key to the entrapment defense is that the alleged offender would not have been predisposed to commit the crime without outside influence, incentive and/or inducement initiated by law enforcement. According to the Ohio Supreme Court, entrapment occurs “where the criminal design originates with [government official(s) who] implant in the mind of an innocent person the [pre]disposition to commit the alleged offense and induce its commission in order to prosecute.” State v. Doran, 5 Ohio St.3d 187."


Thanks for the clarification. Upon review of the law it is still my opinion wording the advertisement in a certain way would eliminate a entrapment defense. For example... I don't think someone can claim entrapment if they replied to a post(possibly made by the police) about meeting new friends then arrived and offered payment for sexual favors.

Example of how they could do it... Hi my name is Jessica. I am 22 have a nice body, staying in a hotel, only here for the weekend, looking for new friends. Call me at 419-555-5555. If 419-555-5555 were a real number it would have just gotten 50+ phone calls from local single men all foaming at the mouth.


And if a guy were to post looking for "friends" who he is willing to pay ...it may look like this...My name i$ Herman. I am here for the weekend,looking for new friend$. Call me at 419.555.5555....Plea$e call.


How come cityslicker can't comment anymore??


Who says he can't?


If two adults want to exchange money for sex, so be it. It has nothing to do with anyone else.


"The report shows the operation was in conjunction with the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI Northwest Ohio Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation in an attempt to deter prostitution and other crimes." Quote from Port Clinton paper.

I just wonder how much money was spent in total man hours for this joke of a sting.

The Big Dog's back

The old guys wake up in the morning, look at the wife, and say intercourse or golf course. They putt in some strange holes.


For real, Big Dog ? I thought the old guys wake up and say," Hmmm..9 holes of golf, 18 holes of golf or a GLORY HOLE ?" Yep,you're right,that is strange...


Where's the GLORY?




"Officials from the Wood County Sheriff's Office, Perrysburg Twp. Police, Northwood Police, the Ohio Attorney General's Office, and the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office conducted a Solicitation Prostitution investigation at a Fremont Pike (US 20) hotel on Feb. 26."

"The Wood County Sheriff's Office, Perrysburg Township Police, Northwood Police, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office worked together arranging people to come to the French Quarters where contact was made and then arrests took place after sex acts were offered for money."

Your tax dollars at work. The real criminals are getting a free pass. How about a sting operation against some corrupt public officials and cops.

A dirty cop gets a slap on the wrist.

Perjury, bribes and tax evasion. Light sentence.

2cents's picture

(Wood County)

Figures :)


Was this dude living out his fantasy?


There's more to the story coming.. How do we know that they are all of age? over 18 I think this is just the beginning.


The beginning of what? Over 18? Who is the "they" you are talking about?


While ill admit it seems like entrapment....it's not and like it or not this is a crime....a victimless crime definitly, but a crime all the same. I also noticed most the offenders were in mid 50s +, did they really take a huge bite outta crime???? C'mon sheriff!!!

Pastor Ron

Heard they are setting up a j-walking sting in downtown Sandusky.


Attempted soliciting..? That one will be dropped.
Huge heroin problem from Toledo to Cleveland and they're worried about a few rub and tugs & or a $20 hummer.
Law enforcement puzzles me.