September 2, 2014

Elyria
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Feds: Human trafficking victims won’t be charged

Federal prosecutors announced this morning that the women allegedly forced into prostitution in an Elyria human trafficking case will not face criminal charges.

“The victims in this case are just that – victims of crime and will be treated accordingly,” Mike Tobin, spokesman for U.S. Attorney for Northern Ohio Steven Dettelbach, said in a statement released this morning. “They will not face criminal charges. Instead, we have been working and will continue to work to get them the help and services they need.”

Jeremy Mack and Ashley Onysko were arrested during an Elyria police raid last month at a Tattersal Court house where they allegedly forced teenagers and young women to work as prostitutes to pay off their drug debts.

Onysko is now facing federal human trafficking charges and Mack is likely to end up in federal court as well.

Tobin wrote that it’s not uncommon for victims of human trafficking cases to have legal issues, which if often why they are targeted.

“When anyone is forced, through threats or coercion, to have sex against their will, it’s not prostitution,” he wrote. “It’s rape, plain and simple.

Read Saturday’s Chronicle for more on this story.