ShareThis Page
Valley News Dispatch

4 Western Pennsylvania men accused of sex solicitation in Ohio

Patrick Varine
| Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, 6:51 p.m.

A 61-year-old Verona man was among nine people arrested during a sting operation targeting sex trafficking, according to the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

Authorities say they all responded to online advertisements placed by law enforcement, and all nine were taken into custody after arriving at an agreed-upon location in Beaver Township, Mahoning County, Ohio.

“The demand for the sex trade is a major driving force behind human trafficking, and that is why undercover operations like this are so important,” Ohio state Attorney General Mike DeWine wrote in a press release. “We want would-be purchasers of sex to remember that they could be arranging to meet with law enforcement.”

Joseph Geraci, 61, of Verona was charged with solicitation, DeWine said.

Others from Western Pennsylvania who were arrested were: Ryan Grossman, 42, of Aliquippa; Gary Harmon, 46, of New Castle; and Charles Hart, 63, of Cochranton, Crawford County.

Four Ohio residents face the same charge: Sohail Awan, 31, of Youngstown; Michael Canaday, 53, of East Palestine; Christopher Jones, 42, of Berlin Center and Paul McHugh, 32, of Salem.

Jamie Webb, 31, of Salem, Ohio was charged with attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, possession of criminal tools and importuning.

DeWine's office said Webb allegedly exchanged messages with an undercover officer arranging for what he believed would be a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old girl.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me