LANCASTER, Ohio (WCMH) – A Lancaster man was among the 56 arrests during a statewide human trafficking sting, according to Attorney General Dave Yost.
NBC4 spoke with Yost to learn more about Daniel Fullen, 37, who was arrested over the weekend during Operation Time’s Up. The operation happens annually with multiple law enforcement agencies teaming up to target customers trying to buy sex, reducing the demand for human trafficking.
In a video sent to NBC4 by the attorney general, agents used a hidden camera in a hotel room to record Fullen. The recording showed him giving a woman money before he began to take off his clothes. Law enforcement moved into the hotel room afterward to take Fullen into custody.
Fullen is a full-time hospice chaplain who works in the village of Thornville, according to Yost. The attorney general also said this was not Fullen’s first time.
“Here’s the kicker, he’d previously gotten picked up at a sting,” Yost said. “And he went to court and got john school as his penalty, so he had to go and learn about human trafficking, learn about the impact it has on the women who are trafficked.”
John school is a term for the education programs offered across the U.S. for people caught trying to buy sex, known as johns. The programs often include teaching material about health education, the negative community impact, human trafficking, pimping and sexual addictions.
In Ohio, these programs are open to first-time offenders facing charges related to prostitution, according to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services. Three of the four Ohio john schools offer incentives like diversion to get a suspect’s case dismissed, or criminal record expungement if they complete the program. The Columbus john school is free to attend, but the other three in Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo all charge suspects fees between $250 and $500.
“I don’t know how anybody can go through john school and not be moved by the evil that this is,” Yost said.
The OCJS did not have data on how many offenders go through the state’s john schools in a year. It did report that 5.5% of the Dayton school attendees and around 1% of Columbus attendees get caught trying to buy sex again. A similar program in Minneapolis reported three in 700 of its attendees will get caught in prostitution again.
In Fullen’s case, there most likely won’t be an option for him to take john school to dismiss the charges again, according to the attorney general.
“I’m hoping that the prosecutor that takes this case is going to ask the judge for jail time, because he flunked out of john school,” Yost said.
Among the other arrests in Operation Time’s Up were three men who allegedly brought two teenage escorts from Toledo to Columbus for paid sex. Law enforcement officers were able to rescue the two teens and charged all three men with felonies related to human trafficking.