The Burlington Police Department arrested seven men and one woman during a prostitution sweep on Friday night, according to a release from the department.
Using a website known for hosting classified ads offering sex in exchange for money, the Burlington Police Detective Unit conducted a reverse sting operation to target “Johns.’’ Seven men were arrested for attempting to purchase sex from a female police officer who posted ads to the website.
Though the sting was intended to only target customers, Burlington detectives found an ad placed by a woman advertising sex for a fee from another Burlington hotel. Detectives made an appointment with her and she was arrested after an agreement was made to purchase sex.
Police Chief Michael R. Kent said he hopes Friday’s sting operation will keep other men from seeking in Burlington. Sergeant Timothy McDonough, leader of the sting, stressed that prostitution is not a victimless crime.
“Human trafficking is a serious issue that involves the exploitation of women and children, and their tormentors use these same classified ads website to do business. By targeting these methods, we want both parties to think twice before coming to Burlington.’’
The eight suspects were charged with sexual conduct for a fee. They are Ronald Amoling, 51, of Gardner; Mohsen Benham, 33, of Worcester; Nicholas Bittner, 44, of Woburn; Brendan McElhiney, 28, of Lunenberg; Daniel Morneault, 23, of Tewksbury; Rajesh Patel, 46, of Burlington and Thomas Shea, 51, of Uxbridge. Dimitria Chakalis-Haley, 56, of Stoneham, was the woman who allegedly posted an ad offering sex for a fee in a different Burlington hotel.
The eight individuals will be arraigned in Woburn District Court on Monday.