An Elyria City Council member was arrested Thursday as part of a statewide prostitution sting overseen by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Mark Jessie, 64, faces a misdemeanor charge of soliciting sex for money, the Elyria Police Department said in a news release. He will make his first court appearance Wednesday in Elyria Municipal Court.
Jessie, a Democrat, has represented the city’s Ward 3 for eight years. He will face off with Republican candidate Maurice Corbin III in the Nov. 2 general election.
Jessie was arrested as part of a statewide sex trafficking sting named “Operation Ohio Knows.” The operation, which took place from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, led to 161 arrests across Ohio, according to the news release.
Undercover detectives communicated online with Jessie and arranged a 30-minute meeting with him. Jessie agreed to pay $60 for sex during the meeting, according to a police report.
Jessie was arrested when he showed up for the meeting about 3 p.m. Thursday at an address on Washington Avenue near Harrison Street in Elyria, according to the police report.
Jessie agreed to speak with detectives without having an attorney present. He admitted he came to the meeting to solicit sex for money, the police report says.
In a statement, Jessie said his actions were “incredibly foolish and selfish.”
“I want to make the sincerest apologies to my family, my Council colleagues, city employees and my constituents,” he said. “I hope that this act of poor judgment will not define me in the future.”
As part of the operation, 51 potential sex trafficking victims were provided health care and social services, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a separate news release.
This is an excerpt from Cleveland.
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