NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Forty-one people, including one juvenile, have been arrested in connection with a human trafficking operation in Nashville.
Officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Friday that 34 men, six women and one juvenile were arrested during the three-day operation, called Operation Someone Like Me.
Among those charged were a high school teacher, a former Vanderbilt University football player, a truck driver, a student and a state IT Specialist.
Officials with Metro Nashville Public Schools confirmed that 56-year-old David Shepard is a science teacher at Hunters Lane High School. He was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday and has been employed at the school since 2014.
(Hunters Lane High School where Shepard worked and has been placed on paid administrative leave.)
Undercover agents posted ads online and got a response from 485 men. In some of the ads, agents posed as an individual selling themselves online. When asked, they told the suspects they were a juvenile girl.
TBI spokesperson Josh Devine said 18 men responded and paid to have sex with an underage girl.
“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem,” says TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “This is all demand-driven. These men paying for sex with children in our state are only continuing to victimize girls and women. It’s wrong, it’s illegal, and we will pursue these operations in small towns and big cities for as long as it takes.”
The nonprofit agency, End Slavery Tennessee, identified potential victims and offered them housing, counseling
The TBI said the following people were arrested:
Also arrested were 24-year-old Brittan Kettle and 18-year-old Stormy Whittemore. Authorities said the two were facing additional federal charges for conspiring to commit human trafficking after allegedly soliciting a 13-year-old for sex.
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