Eugene Police on prostitution: 'We've arrested teachers, we've arrested a priest'
EUGENE, Ore. - An undercover detective types at a computer in his cubicle at the Eugene Police Department.
Today it’s not a report he’s typing, but an ad.
“We literally get hundreds, sometimes thousands, of responses to each ad that we post," said the detective, who asked to remain anonymous due to the nature of the work.
According to the detective, for the past three years he’s been setting up these online ads as part of a sting operation that have put 70 people behind bars.
It’s a sign of changing times.
"When I started working as a detective, most of the prostitution - it used to be on street level," the detective said. "Now it's almost 100 percent internet-based."
He says online prostitution involving minors is a problem affecting all parts of society in the Eugene area.
"We've arrested teachers, we've arrested a priest,” said the detective.
He says they’re people you wouldn’t normally expect - and they can afford to defend themselves.
"Most of the people we've arrested, out of the 70, are professional. Most don't have criminal histories; most have a little bit of money and can hire attorneys” said the detective.
Some of the things men have said to him while posing as a teenage girl are telling.
“It's pretty depressing at times to know that there's that many people in our community to think that way about women or treat women that way” said the detective.
Even when they get their man, it’s still a bittersweet victory.
“It's mixed emotions. It's always good to catch these guys, but at the same time...there's a lot of times where the individual is married and has a family. That's got to be shocking for the families,” said the detective.