(CLEVELAND, Ohio) — Eight people seeking to buy sex were arrested during a human trafficking crackdown in northeastern Ohio that coincided with the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Game festivities in Cleveland, Attorney General Yost announced today.
“This operation’s mission was two-fold: to arrest johns soliciting sex and to proactively encounter potential victims,” Yost said.
“Our task reinforced both the consequences for buying sex and the pathways available for victims to find a way out.”
Operation Fouled Out, coordinated through AG Yost’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, was a collaborative effort involving multiple law enforcement agencies and social services organizations to address the issues that fuel sex trafficking in Ohio.
Led by the Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, the operation took place leading up to Sunday’s All-Star game.
Law enforcement identified and interviewed 15 individuals selling sex. Potential victims of human trafficking were provided assistance offered by health-care and social services organizations, including the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center and Canopy Child Advocacy Center.
“We are proud to showcase our city to the nation and world on this All-Star weekend, but we want to be clear that sexual violence and human trafficking have no place here,” said Sondra Miller, President and CEO of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
“We applaud the agencies that work collaboratively to hold sex offenders accountable today and every day.”
The operation resulted in the arrests of:
- Brian Barlock, 45, Columbia Station
- Bryan Fathauer, 51, Berea
- Benny Gonzalez, 25, Lorain
- George Keaton, 43, Broadview Heights
- David O’Boyle, 49, Brookpark
- Dana Parnell, 48, Mayfield Heights
- Brandon Ruyten, 49, Rootstown
- Michael James Smith, 48, Cuyahoga Falls
Statements from Inside the Operation
Jennifer Johnson, executive director, Canopy Child Advocacy Center
“Canopy Child Advocacy Center has embraced the opportunity to work alongside the Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force for the past three years.”
“This partnership has enabled law enforcement to come together with community service organizations to ensure that those they recover are able to truly receive comprehensive care.”
“The task force highly values utilizing a victim-centered approach, and Canopy Child Advocacy Center truly appreciates being included in the planning, execution and follow-up processes that occur during proactive investigations.”
“The work that is needed to be done in Northeast Ohio cannot be done successfully in silos, and the task force recognizes that collective impact is critical to each of our respective missions.”
Prosecuting Attorney Michael C. O’Malley, Cuyahoga County prosecutor
“Our office is honored to be a part of the Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and appreciates the dedicated work of our law enforcement agency partners.”
Chief Ed Tomba, Middleburg Heights Police Department
“The members of the Middleburg Heights Police Department and the city’s administration are committed to the safety and security of all our residents and visitors.”
“We support the mission of the Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and its efforts to eradicate human trafficking.”
Sheriff Christopher Viland, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department
“Law enforcement operations like Operation Fouled Out are not successful without the work of many stakeholders. With our strong partnerships not only here in Cuyahoga County but across the state of Ohio, we stand ready to act not only in combatting this crime but to assist victims in their identification and connecting them with resources that specialize in human trafficking victims’ needs.”
Participating in the operation were the Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio Investigative Unit (a component of the Ohio State Highway Patrol), Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Cleveland Division of Police, Middleburg Heights Police Department, Warrensville Heights Police Department, MetroHealth Police Department, Chagrin Valley Dispatch, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and Canopy Child Advocacy Center.