Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune | TBO.com
Monday, Apr 21, 2014
Crime & Courts

80 arrested in Polk County prostitution investigation


Published:

A four-day prostitution sting has yielded 80 arrests by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office on a variety of charges, including a man who solicited the same undercover detective in 2008.

During the investigation, which ran from Thursday to Sunday, detectives answered and placed ads on websites such as Backpage.com. Undercover detectives arrested 24 men who were soliciting, 33 prostitutes, 13 suspects who were aiding and abetting prostitution or deriving proceeds from prostitution, and 10 others for a variety of drug and other charges, according to the sheriff’s office.

Nearly two thirds of the suspects arrested have criminal histories, the sheriff’s office said, including charges such as attempted murder and drug crimes.

Detectives also learned that 22 of those arrested are receiving food stamps or SNAP benefits.

Mark Graffrath, 50, of Lakeland was arrested in two previous sheriff’s office prostitution operations. This time Graffrath solicited an undercover female detective for sex, and she is the same undercover female detective that resulted in Graffrath’s arrest in 2008.

According to the sheriff’s office, among those arrested in the investigation are:

* A 16-year-old girl from Orlando. She was charged with prostitution along with 26-year-old Amanda Parker of Orlando. They were brought to the undercover location by 20-year-old Stanley Benson, also from Orlando. He was charged with deriving proceeds from prostitution. Detectives are now conducting a human trafficking investigation.

* Justin Bachand, 32, of Lakeland who works as a Florida Department of Corrections probation officer. He solicited an undercover female detective to expose her breasts and have sex for money.

* Richard Sierra, 47, of Altamonte Springs, who is an attorney for Kosto & Rotella law firm in the Orlando area. He went to the undercover location to have paid sex. Sierra attempted to conduct a pat down, stating when he did this he usually pats the girl down for wires. He was charged with soliciting prostitution and assault.

* Christopher Havlicek, 43, of Palm Beach Gardens is the managing director/Palm Beach market manager for JP Morgan Chase Bank. He negotiated to be with an undercover female detective to be with her for a half-hour for cash. Havlicek then disrobed and got onto the bed. According to NBA.com, Havlicek is a former reporter for NBA TV.

* Anthony Stevens, 50, of Groveland is a special education teacher at Groveland Elementary School in Lake County. He solicited a female undercover deputy for paid sex.

* Terra Webb, 30, and Charles Kinsey, 43, a couple from St. Petersburg arrived at the undercover location with a 3 1/2-month-old baby. After Kinsey didn’t hear from Webb, he went to the undercover location with the baby. The Department of Children and Families was notified and took custody of the baby. Webb had negotiated for paid sex with a male undercover deputy and was arrested for soliciting prostitution. Kinsey was arrested for child neglect/endangerment.

* William Higbee, 54, of St. Petersburg arrived at the undercover location with a bag of domination sex toys, including a whip, leather/chain shackles, leather collar, ball gag and a bottle of vodka. He is part owner/chef at Cafe 6200 in St. Petersburg. He was arrested for soliciting for prostitution.

* Toni Sella, 35, of Tampa claims to be a porn star and provided the link to her pornographic website to the undercover detective. Sella, who said she is on disability and receives $1,600 a month, charges for different services on her website. She says her stage name is Ella Meadows. She was charged with soliciting prostitution.

“Prostitution is not a victimless crime. From the spread of disease and destruction of families to human trafficking, prostitution is bad for our community,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.

Comments