Elyria city councilman arrested in human trafficking sting

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ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW)– The fallout continues after a local city councilman was busted in Ohio’s largest human trafficking sting.

Among the 161 arrests in the prostitution sting announced by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Monday was Elyria City Councilman Mark Jessie.

“My reaction and everyone else on council was just shocked.  Just trying to wrap our head around what is happening over and through,” said Elyria City Council President Vic Stewart.

The 64-year-old councilman was among the 14 suspects arrested in Elyria alone. It was all part of a state-wide operation last week called Ohio Knows, which targeted people buying sex, in some cases with a minor.

“We arrested a contractor, city council member, firefighter, teacher and a professor,” said Yost in a news conference Monday.

“From a council standpoint, moving forward, he will have his day in court. And we will wait to see what those findings come through,” Stewart said.

According to Stewart, Jessie is the incumbent Democratic Ward 3 councilman and is already on the ballot for the November election.

“It’s disheartening. We don’t condone that in Elyria City Council. We don’t condone Jessie’s actions. He will have his day in court and we will go from there,” Stewart said.

FOX 8 reached out to Councilman Jessie for comment. Our phone calls and emails were not returned. Elyria Mayor Frank Whitfield also declined to comment.

The attorney general’s office said, in addition to the arrests, the investigation helped recover 10 missing children.

“One thing we don’t want to lose sight of is the victims that were a part of this. We need to have them in our hearts and minds moving forward,” Stewart said.

According to court records, Jessie is charged with soliciting and will appear in court Wednesday.

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