Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced in a press release Sept. 13 that 30 law enforcement agencies and social service organizations worked together in this three-day sting that covered three counties, yielding 104 arrests.
These arrests include 31-year-old Austin Kosier, who worked in the emergency department at Genesis Healthcare System in Zanesville, reported 10TV WBNS. He was arrested on two felony charges of importuning and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
Genesis Healthcare told the Columbus-based CBS-affiliate that Kosier was placed on indefinite leave as soon as the hospital learned of his arrest.
Also arrested was Christian Gibson, 26, a youth director in training at Redeemer’s on Courtright Church in Columbus. He faces the same charges as Kosier and has since been removed from his position.
The operation, code-named “Fourth and Goal,” yielded 104 total arrests. Twenty-four individuals were arrested and charged with felonies for importuning and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor after seeking to engage in sexual activity with whom they believed to be juveniles. One of those individuals was additionally charged with attempted rape and another with disseminating matter harmful for juveniles.
Major Steven Tucker with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office told WBNS that 24 men, including Kosier and Gibson, showed up with the “intention of meeting a child for sex.”
He said law enforcement agents, posing as juveniles, communicated with these individuals via online chats.
“The reality that they were operating in, is that there absolutely was a child at the other end of that device, and that’s who they were coming to see,” said Tucker. “They show up with things that clearly somebody isn’t going to show up to a house with unless they intended to engage in sexual activity.”
Tucker said parents need to know what their children are doing online and educate them about the potential threats.
“Set the rules. Be the parent. Be the parent. Know who they’re talking to,” he said. “You’re entitled to ask. You’re entitled to know. The children need to know, you can’t trust everybody. Not every adult is trustworthy.”
“Criminals involved in trafficking other human beings prey upon those individuals that are already at risk, subjecting them to prostitution and addiction,” said Attorney General Yost. “Predators who seek to harm our children and grandchildren are not hiding in the bushes, they’re lurking on the internet.”