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Update on human trafficking investigation

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Morgan County Sheriff Douglas McGrath and the Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force have provided an update on a large-scale human trafficking investigation that began nearly 10 months ago.

“This task force waded into a cesspool of ‘alleged men’ who were trafficking a juvenile victim and sexually exploiting children – pure filth,” Yost said through a press release. “Sheriff McGrath, Sheriff (Larry) Mincks and the Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force are making it clear that this criminal behavior isn’t welcome in their counties.”

In August 2021, the Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, formed under the Attorney General’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, received information that Rusty Campbell, 31, 4630 N. State Route 60, McConnelsville, was trafficking a juvenile victim in exchange for money, methamphetamine and other favors.

During the course of the subsequent investigation, task force officers learned that Campbell also was having sex with additional juvenile victims, creating child pornography and participating in an online group sharing explicit videos of child sexual abuse. The activity occurred from April 2020 through July 2021.

“Sexual abuse of children is one of the most heinous crimes that exists and sadly we are not immune from this evil in our community,” McGrath stated. “Thankfully, joint resources through the task force allowed law enforcement to act swiftly and arrest the offenders before they hurt more children. I would especially like to thank Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks and the Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force for their instrumental role making Morgan County a safer place.”

Campbell was arrested and indicted in February in Morgan County Common Pleas Court on one count of rape, a first-degree felony; five counts of human trafficking, all first-degree felonies; 27 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, all second-degree felonies; and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, both third-degree felonies.

The task force then focused its investigation on other involved parties, resulting in numerous arrests and indictments in Morgan County:

¯ Daniel Charles, 33, of 5980 N. State Route 60 NW Lot D, McConnelsville, was indicted on one count of human trafficking, a first-degree felony; 20 counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, all second-degree felonies; and compelling prostitution, a second-degree felony.

¯ Caleb Clemens, 31, 5788 N. State Route 60 NW., McConnelsville, was indicted on one count of human trafficking, a first-degree felony; corruption of a minor, a third-degree felony; and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony.

¯ Cody Allen Dingey, 33, of 7007 State Route 376, McConnelsville, was indicted on one count of human trafficking, a first-degree felony; and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony.

¯ Dustin Harlow, age and address unknown, was indicted on one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony.

¯ Matthew Haynes, age and address unknown, was indicted and pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony. He was sentenced to three years in prison and will be required to register as a sex offender upon release. The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations and the Columbus Division of Police assisted with Haynes’ arrest.

¯ Tyler Matheney, 34, of 6635 N. Bear Run Road NE, McConnelsville, was indicted on one count of human trafficking, a first-degree felony; three counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, a second-degree felony; and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, both third-degree felonies.

¯ Brian O’Neil, 39, address unknown, was indicted and pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, both third-degree felonies; and one count of importuning, a third-degree felony. He will be sentenced Aug. 2.

¯ Dean Smith was indicted on eight counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, all second-degree felonies; and four counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, all third-degree felonies.

The victim in these crimes appears to be the same juvenile, who was 14/15 years old at the time, according to the indictments.

The task force’s investigation remains ongoing as additional suspects are identified.

Anyone with additional information about this investigation or knowledge of additional victims of human trafficking is encouraged to contact the task force directly through the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 740-376-7070 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-3737-888.

The Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force is led by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and includes the Marietta City Police Department, Marietta College Police Department, Washington County Prosecutor’s Office, Noble County Sheriff’s Office, Noble County Prosecutor’s Office, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan County Prosecutor’s Office, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office, Athens County Sheriff’s Office, Athens Police Department, Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and the Meigs County Prosecutor’s Office.

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