April 25th, 2019 - Twenty men face charges after being arrested during a four day
'john' sting led by members of the Street Crimes Unit of the St. Thomas Police Service
earlier this month.
The men arrested range in age from twenty to seventy one years old and were all
from the Elgin/Oxford/Middlesex area.
The men are each charged with one count of Communication for the Purpose of Obtaining
One man faces additional charges of drug trafficking after attempting to sell cocaine
to undercover officers.
The men were all released and will appear in court at a later date with a police
recommendation to attend john school.
"John School is a diversion program sometimes offered by the court as an alternative
to criminal prosecution for the clients of sex workers who have been arrested for
soliciting sexual services or other related offenses. It is an 8 hour educational
program about the realities of sex work and brings awareness to the impact of prostitution
on families and the community including the sex worker. There is a fee attached
to this diversion option and the proceeds are used to provide important support
programming to persons involved in the sex trade. Upon completion of the diversion
requirements the charge is then withdrawn." John Howard Society
St. Thomas Police Chief Chris Herridge will not be releasing the names of the johns.
"In keeping with our established practice of only releasing names of individuals
who are recidivist (a convicted criminal who re offends, especially repeatedly)
and are a threat to the public safety or property of the citizens of St. Thomas,
I will not be releasing the names of the men arrested for attempting to purchase
I have reviewed all of the comments on our recent Facebook post and the numerous
research documents provided along with inviting feedback from our local community
partners. The passionate opinions of sex trade survivors, sex trade workers and
the community at large have been respected and I thank everyone for weighing in.
However, I have to consider what is in the best interest of our community.
I have reviewed the case files for this investigation and there is no evidence to
suggest there is a threat to public safety or property. Five of the accused persons
reside in St. Thomas and there is no evidence to suggest either person is a risk
to public safety. This was an uncover operation to determine the extent of sex trade
specifically in St. Thomas. I certainly appreciate the sensitivity of this issue.
STPS will maintain a consistent approach moving forward to only release the name
of johns where violence, minors or a threat to public safety exists. Our response
will always be based on each individual case and the supporting evidence." Chief