COLUMBUS (WCMH)–A registered sex offender was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 500 months in prison for crimes related to sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl.
Nicholas Salvadore Cochran, 28, of Lima, Ohio, pleaded guilty in January 2020 to one count of sex trafficking a minor, and one count of committing a sex offense against a minor as a registered as a sex offender.
As part of his sentence, Cochran will pay full restitution to the victim and others impacted by the crimes, remain under court supervision for the rest of his life, pay a fine determined by the court and pay special assessments of $10,200.
“While unthinkable to most of us, sex trafficking of children is real and organized,” said U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers in a news release Tuesday. “We must recognize the unthinkable and report suspicious activity for the sake of our most vulnerable. I would like to tell you that this is an isolated incident. It is not.”
Cochran was arrested in August of last year, as part of Operation Independence Day. It was nationwide FBI organized operation to identify and arrest sex traffickers and recover child victims. Cochran has been in custody since his arrest. A federal grand jury indicted him in September.
According to court documents, police began searching for a 14-year-old girl reported missing from Celina, Ohio in July 2019. Family members believed her to be in the Dublin, Ohio area with a man named “Nick.” Local law enforcement and the FBI began investigating information known about her to help locate the missing girl. The investigation included examination of ads posted on websites used for advertising prostitution.
Investigation of the advertisements revealed that between July 9 and July 14, Cochran posted approximately 25 ads for the Lima-Findlay, Dayton, and Columbus areas. He posted ads for sex with the child victim daily, and those ads contained nude photographs of the minor.
Allen County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Cochran during a traffic stop in Lima, Ohio on an outstanding failure to appear warrant and seized Cochran’s phone. The victim called her parents from a hotel in Lima and was recovered.
Cochran had been convicted of two counts of sexual battery and one count of attempted sexual battery in Henry County, Ohio in 2009.
“The selling of a human being for the purpose of sex is Stephen King-level evil,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “I am proud of Jennifer Rausch and our federal and local partners for bringing this case to a just conclusion.”