'Johns' Arrested After Taking Kids to Visits with Prostitutes, Police Say
"Customers" left kids in cars while they went inside area motels for sex with who they thought were prostitutes, police say. Forty were arrested, including people from Marion, Cedar Falls, Iowa CIty.
Marion Police Lt. Scott Elam said there was one thing investigators didn’t anticipate when they helped launch a prostitution sting last week: They didn’t think the "Johns" — or prostitution customers — would bring their kids with them.
That's precisely what happened, though, during an undercover operation last week in which 40 people were arrested, mostly on prostitution-related charges.
The customers, answering online advertisements, flocked to area motels, an unknown number with kids in tow. Then they went to rooms to do their business, leaving left their children behind in cars.
Apparently, spending money on prostitutes was in the budget; babysitters were not.
Then, the customers got a big surprise: The "prostitutes" they were going to visit were, in fact, undercover police officers.
“We had no idea that that could happen,” Elam said of the children involved.
As a result, Marion Police and some of the 20 or so other law enforcement agencies involved in the sting have brought in victim-witness coordinators.
Victim-witness coordinators can operate as crisis counselors for witnesses of crimes -- like the children left in the cars.
The sting took place over three days in two hotels last week. It led to 40 arrests, 37 of which were for prostitution.
The investigation is ongoing. Elam told Marion Patch on Monday that more arrests are to come and that human-trafficking charges are possible.