Operation Autumn Hope: Weeks-long crackdown on Ohio sex crimes nets hundreds of arrests

45 missing children 'physically recovered'
Operation Autumn Hope: Weeks-long crackdown on Ohio sex crimes nets hundreds of arrests
Posted at 1:38 PM, Oct 26, 2020

Ohio's Attorney General and the U.S. Marshals Service announced the results of Operation Autumn Hope on Monday — a month-long, multi-agency crackdown focused on sexually-based crimes in the state.

According to press releases from the U.S. Marshals and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, the operation netted hundreds of arrests for various sex crimes and the "physical recovery" of dozens of missing children throughout the month of October.

In its press release, U.S. Marshals Service said Monday that "Operation Autumn Hope" took place "during the month of October," and Yost said in a press release that the operation involved "more than 50 law enforcement agencies" at the local, state and federal level.

Throughout the month, Yost said that during the operation, 109 human trafficking victims were referred to social services. It's unclear how many people, if any, were arrested and charged with crimes relating to sex trafficking.

Both Yost and the U.S. Marshals also said that 45 "missing or exploited children" were "physically recovered." Of those cases, at least one — that of a missing 15-year-old girl — was confirmed to have been linked to a human trafficking case. It's unclear if any of the other missing children cases involved human trafficking.

Yost also said that throughout the month-long operation, 22 people were "apprehended" for seeking to have sex with a minor. It's unclear how many of those will face charges, but among those who are facing charges include "a pastor, students, and a rehabilitation resident advisor."

Finally, Yost said that 157 men across the state were arrested "on charges of soliciting and other crimes."

Students from Case Western Reserve University's Human Trafficking Law Project were partners in the operation. Ten faculty, law students and masters-level social work students met with survivors in the field and offered free legal representation and social services referrals.

"This experience allowed our students to witness firsthand a prime example of the inter-professional collaboration that is critical to anti-trafficking efforts," said Laura McNally-Levine, associate dean for Experiential Education at Case. "Participants gained insight into the incredible toll this heinous crime takes on its victims, and observed the difference that can be made by providing survivors with access to legal and social services. We are grateful for the tremendous efforts of law enforcement throughout this operation and for the opportunity to support survivors in such a unique capacity."