YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio-- Twelve men, including an elementary school teacher, are facing charges following an investigation by the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force.
The three-day undercover investigation, intended to prevent child sexual exploitation and reduce the demand for sex trafficking, resulted in the arrests this week.
"It is reprehensible that anyone would arrange to meet with a juvenile for sex, but it is even more appalling when the person facing charges is an elementary school teacher," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in a news release on Friday.
The attorney general's office said the 12 suspects had sexually explicit conversations online with undercover officers posing as children. They also went to a vacant house in Mahoning County to have sex with a minor, investigators said.
The following suspects were charged with importuning, attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and possession of criminal tools:
- James Norkus, 24, Salem
- Naji Alsagoor, 25, Boardman
- Robert Canann Jr., 50, Niles
- Justin Coyne, 21, Cleveland
- Adam Dziedzic, 38, New Castle, Pennsylvania
- Brandon Gorcheff, 26, North Lima
- Thomas Maylone Jr., 29, East Liverpool
- Kevin McNally, 23, Boardman
- Alexander Morlan, 21, New Middletown
- Andrew Nuzzi, 22, Girard
- Peter Petroff Jr., 47, Boardman
- Edward Webker, 41, Andover
Norkus is a physical education teacher at Kirkmere Elementary School in Youngstown, according to the attorney general's office.
Webkar and Nuzzi were also charged with disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. Investigators said they sent sexually explicit photos during their online conversations with undercover officers.