MOUNT VERNON — Richard L. Posey Jr., 27, of Mount Vernon, indicted Tuesday on charges of compelling prostitution, trafficking in persons, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, was transporting women to Cleveland to engage in prostitution “against their will and in exchange for drugs,” Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher told the News. The incidents occurred between July 15 and Sept. 11, when Posey was arrested on drug charges.
Thatcher said the investigation began when police executed the search warrant at Posey’s Coshocton Avenue apartment.
“Human trafficking and prostitution, in conjunction with drug trafficking, are not just big city crimes,” Thatcher said. “This type of criminal activity happens in smaller cities, too, as evidenced by recent human trafficking cases filed in Delaware and Chillicothe.”
He claimed Posey also engaged in drug trafficking in Mount Vernon, in association with Mary McGregor, Teaca Lowe, Shannon Kitts, Randy McGregor and Demonno Rhodes. Rhodes, 34, of Columbus, and Lowe, 35, of Mount Vernon, were also indicted this week on heroin and cocaine trafficking and possession charges, with Lowe also being indicted on a charge of permitting drug abuse for allowing her Fairmont Avenue residence to be used for drug trafficking.
Lowe and Rhodes were taken into custody on Oct. 5 when the Mount Vernon Police Department’s Emergency Services Unit executed a search warrant at Lowe’s residence on Oct. 5.
Mary McGregor, Shannon Kitts, and Randy McGregor were already indicted by an earlier grand jury, Thatcher said.
Posey was originally arrested on the drug charges Sept. 11. When he appeared in Municipal Court for his bond hearing, Assistant Prosecutor Chip McConville said Posey had been released from custody in Nevada on June 14 where he had served time for robbery, armed robbery and possession of a firearm by an ex-felon.
Mary K. McGregor
Shannon Kitts(Photo Not Available)
Demonno A. Rhodes
Thatcher said three Mount Vernon area women were involved in the trafficking and prostitution, hence the three “compelling prostitution” charges. All the charges are felony offenses of varying degrees.
The specifications allow the court to impose mandatory sentences on the compelling prostitution charges with no chance for early release.
Detective Cpl. Matt Dailey, MVPD, conducted the investigations in the Posey, Rhodes and Lowe cases.
In other indictments, Michael P. Cosner, 21, Howard, was charged with selling heroin to an undercover operative working for the Fredericktown Police Department, as was Anthony A. Ward, 24, Fredericktown.
Lt. Jay Sheffer, FPD, investigated the Cosner and Ward cases.
Elizabeth A. Dowalter, 33, Mount Vernon, was charged with stealing prescription pills on Aug. 27. The charge is enhanced by a degree because she has a drug-related conviction on her record from Morrow County.
Patrolman Jason Payne, MVPD, investigated the case.
In non-drug cases, Thomas A. Dixon, 67, Mount Vernon, faces gross sexual imposition charges for allegedly engaging in sexual contact with a 9-year-old female victim in his apartment the weekend of Aug. 10-13. Dixon is believed to be living in Columbus, but his exact whereabouts are unknown, Thatcher said. Persons with information about Dixon’s whereabouts should call the Knox County Sheriff’s Office at 740-397-3333.
Detective Tom Bumpus, KCSO, and Detective James DeChant, MVPD, investigated the case.
Indictments related to the Autumn Sweep of registered sex offenders included:
•Carl F. Bagent Jr., 68, Howard, pandering obscenity and sexually oriented matter involving a minor.
Thatcher said on June 19, an investigator with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force found that Bagent was sharing images allegedly containing child pornography on a peer-to-peer file sharing network. On Sept. 5, Bagent’s computer was seized pursuant to a search warrant executed by Bumpus, and a forensic analysis of the computer later revealed that Bagent possessed images and videos allegedly containing child pornography on his computer.
•Larry W. McWilliams, 65, Fredericktown, pandering obscenity and sexually oriented matter involving a minor.
Thatcher said on May 11, an ICAC investigator found that McWilliams was sharing images allegedly containing child pornography on a peer-to-peer file sharing network. On Sept. 6, McWilliams’ computer was seized pursuant to a search warrant executed by Bumpus, and a forensic analysis of the computer later revealed that McWilliams possessed images and videos allegedly containing child pornography on his computer.
•Mark J. Kirk, 23, Mount Vernon, pandering obscenity involving a minor.
According to Thatcher, Kirk was in possession of an image allegedly containing child pornography on his laptop computer. According to the indictment, the seriousness of the charge is enhanced by one felony degree because Kirk was convicted of a pandering obscenity charge in Knox County in 2009. The case was investigated by Detective Doug Turpen, KCSO, and an ICAC investigator.
•David E. Dixon, 40, failure to provide a change of address to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office when he left his Martinsburg residence some weeks prior to his residence compliance check.
Arraignment hearings in these cases are scheduled for Nov. 2, before Common Pleas Court Judge Otho Eyster.
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