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Jan 25, 2014 06:44 AM EST

UWSP Professor to Face Criminal Charges for Online Prostitution

 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point/Old Main Hall
(Photo : Flickr) University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point/Old Main Hall

Joshua M. Shields, a 33-year-old University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) lecturer, is facing criminal charges related to an online prostitution racket along with three other men.

According to the legal records, the faculty member at the university's College of Natural Resources was handcuffed on a preliminary charge of solicitation Jan. 17 along with Jeffrey Burgoyne (58), Brandon Crum (27) and Peter M. Gomez (37). The Marathon County Circuit Court is expected to declare official charges against the men next week.

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An online prostitution sting in Wausau led to the arrests. The sting involved female officers posing as prostitutes on the online classified ad site Backpage.com.

"Instead of focusing on the prostitutes, we instead focused our efforts on arresting their customers," Wausau Police Lt. Matt Barnes said. "There's plenty of demand out there, and as long as there is demand for those services, prostitution will continue here. That's what we want to stop," Marshfield News Herald reports.

Barnes said that they had immediate responses to their phony ads on Backpage. The first customer responded within five minutes and 26 seconds of posting the ad.

Wausau Police Capt. Ben Bliven said that these stings were the police's way of showing intolerance to this kind of behavior. They are devoted to implementing anti-prostitution laws and holding those participating in this criminal activity accountable.

Barnes said that future operations would involve targeting both prostitutes and customers as the community is concerned about increasing prostitution in the area.

"Unless we arrest the people who are creating demand for these illegal services, we won't make a dent in the prostitution problem," Barnes said. "We want people to know, if you're going to hire a prostitute, you run the risk of having criminal charges filed against you and you run the risk of being publicly identified," Wausau Daily Herald reports.

This is not the first time a university professors is being charged for sexual offences.  Michael Spurlock, a 57-year-old Iowa State professor was arrested and charged with prostitution in Ankeny, Iowa, November 2013. The arrest was made following a sting by Ankeny Police at an undisclosed hotel.

Dr. Christopher E. Pelloski, 39-year-old director of the Pediatric Radiation Oncology Program at the James Cancer Center at the Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, was arrested and charged for downloading child porn. Pelloski of Upper Arlington has been charged federally with one count of receipt of child pornography for allegedly downloading numerous sexually explicit videos and photos of children (some under the age10) via internet.


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