Police: Juvenile saved from human trafficking while 8 arrested for patronizing a prostitute

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Eight men were arrested for attempting to patronize a prostitute after answering fake online ads set up by police. The operation also resulted in the rescue of a juvenile from an instance of human trafficking, according to police.

L-R: Donald K. Railsback, Travis J. Coleman, Jay L. Farnsworth, Daniel P. Mahfood, Lance D. Mackelprang, Larin D. Shenah, Franklin W. Field, Mark K. Rawle, booking photos December 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

UPDATE Feb. 22, 2019: While it was reported that the police had rescued a juvenile from human trafficking during the prostitution sting resulted in the Dec. 10, 2018, arrests, none of the men involved have been charged by the Washington County Attorney’s Office with any charges related to child trafficking. However, the misdemeanor change for patronizing a prostitute remains.

Deputy Washington County Attorney Rachelle Shumway was unable to speak directly to the alleged incident of human trafficking attached to the case, yet told St. George News that not all of the men arrested were linked to it as far as she is aware.

Larry Meyers, the attorney for Daniel Mahfood, said his client was among the men who is not connected to the human trafficking claim. Shumway also said she is unaware of any link in Mahfood’s case.

In the original incident, the St. George Police Department posted online ads “posing as escorts offering services in St. George area,” according to court documents.

The men are alleged to have made contact with a police officer posing as an escort online and made arrangements to meet and engage in sexual acts in exchange for money. The men were arrested in St. George after meeting with a woman posing as a prostitute and handing her the money, according to court documents. 

While the operation was underway, police also rescued a juvenile from human trafficking, St. Goerge Police officer Tiffany Atkin said Monday. She declined to go into further detail but said additional information would be released as the investigation progresses.

Those arrested were Franklin W. Field, Daniel P Mahfood, Jay L. Farnsworth, Travis J. Coleman, Donald K. Railsback, Larin D. Shenah, Lance D. Mackelprang and Mark K. Rawle. 

Each man arrested faces a class A misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute for sexual services. In Utah, a class A misdemeanor can carry up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

Ed. note: Part of the information concerning the nature of the above arrests was misattributed to St. George Police officer Tiffany Atkin and has been corrected.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Kilroywashere December 10, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Guess these guys dont read the SG News. This is an ongoing type of sting operation that hits the news at least once every two months. Let’s see, (repetitive) I can make the same J. Hansen To catch a predator joke, Comment can broach feeling sorry for them, due to entrapment connotations, and… the list goes on. So here’s my advice to these blokes, READ THE SG NEWS!!!! Be informed, or dont pass GO and pay the banker $2500.

    • Comment December 10, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      I think with this one they were using a legal age “simulated” prostitute. With the last one they were simulating a 12 year old or something. My sympathy has kind of run dry and I just don’t care, so there’ll be no feeling sorry. It’ll be interesting to know how they saved a traffic victim.

  • Comment December 10, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    That’s my Bishop! Noooooooooooooooooo! Say it aint so!

    hahahahaha, JK

    • KR567 December 11, 2018 at 3:45 am

      Oh so you are an active member of the church I always knew it

  • Comment December 10, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    It would be funny to play a game with the set of 8 photos. The game would be called ‘Can you spot my bishop?’

    • Kilroywashere December 11, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      I tried, googled all of them last night, no dice. But it was fun to try. Kept getting Wa County web site. No clues. But that’s ok, anonymity should remain intact. But I really wonder if your joking or not?

  • htown December 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    At least the flyer football coach didn’t make the list again.

  • xbcmc059 December 10, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    “You don’t have to lonely, at farmersOnly.com”

  • LunchboxHero December 10, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    The idea of that child being trafficked is absolutely terrifying. Great work, officers! I hope the child will get the counseling they likely need.

    • Comment December 10, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      Well, it says it was a juvenile, so not necessarily a “child”. I’m actually quite curious to know what scenario brought that about, because rescuing a trafficked juvenile is far and away more interesting than just busting a bunch of men looking to pay for a good time.

  • Carpe Diem December 11, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Good bust, but honestly a bit dry compared to all the child sex trafficking that has taken place in Short Crick over the DECADES.

    At least TEXAS put a dozen of them in prison for it.

  • jpff December 12, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    If they helped a young traffic victim, who was the per doing the trafficking? We have not seen that arrest yet.

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