Youngstown man arrested for sex trafficking
SALEM — A Youngstown man who thought he was meeting a 15-year-old girl for sex in Salem Tuesday is scheduled for arraignment in Columbiana County Municipal Court this morning on three felony charges after being arrested instead.
Charles L. Schell, 43, was charged with attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, importuning and possession of criminal tools by the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, whose agents were assisted by Salem Police.
Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott said his department was contacted by a task force agent who had information about an adult male from Youngstown who was looking to have sexual relations with a young girl and was advertising for it on a known website used for soliciting prostitution.
According to Panezott, a conversation had ensued between an agent posing as a 15-year-old girl online and the suspect, who proceeded to describe the various sex acts he wanted to perform with the underage girl. Police were notified that a meeting was to take place in Salem.
On Tuesday afternoon, Schell allegedly showed up with condoms at the predetermined location in the 700 block of East Pershing Street to meet the girl and instead ended up meeting Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force agents and Salem Police officers.
A Salem police report listed the time as 3:54 p.m. and Panezott said the meeting place was supposed to be near Sebo Stadium, but the suspect instead parked in a lot across and up the street, behind a building at the northeast corner of Lincoln and Pershing.
The department recently assisted on another case with the task force in Salem.
“Salem police detectives are cooperating with any cases involving the city of Salem with the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force and will continue to do so,” Panezott said.
He said it’s “very disturbing that it’s going on.”
This arrest took place in the afternoon during daylight hours not far from the football stadium, an elementary school and the public library.
“In these types of cases, we’re always happy to make that arrest,” Panezott said, adding the main reason many police officers join the force is “to protect kids.”
Schell was taken to the Columbiana County jail to await arraignment.