Jury convicts final defendant in Scioto County human trafficking operation involving drugs exchanged for sexual access to children
COLUMBUS, Ohio – All 11 defendants charged federally in a Scioto County child sex trafficking operation have been convicted.
A federal grand jury originally indicted Larry Dean Porter, 71, of Wheelersburg, Ohio, and several of his family members and associates in June 2020. Porter exchanged drugs obtained in Columbus and elsewhere for sexual access to the children of drug-addicted mothers.
Porter and nine of the co-defendants have since pleaded guilty to federal charges.
A jury found the final co-defendant, Joshua Aldridge, 38, of South Webster, Ohio, guilty following a trial in Columbus that concluded this week. Aldridge transported minor victims to Porter’s home and received illegal drugs from Porter in return. He was convicted of conspiring to sex traffic children and conspiring to sex traffic adults by force, which are both crimes punishable by up to life in prison, and sex trafficking children, which is punishable by at least 15 years and up to life in prison.
“The defendants in this case committed heinous acts against some of the most vulnerable people in our society – children,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “The jury properly found Joshua Aldridge guilty of his crimes. Now, each of the defendants will be held accountable for their roles in this atrocious child sex trafficking operation by facing significant time in federal prison. I cannot thank the jury enough for their service.”
Agents with the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force began investigating Porter in April 2019 following reports from several sources that Porter was involved in sexually abusing male and female minors with consent of the minors’ parents in exchange for illegal drugs from Porter.
Porter sexually abused children and produced child pornography that he kept on flash drives and used extreme methods to conceal, including by burying the flash drives in the yard surrounding his house.
He often instructed drug-addicted parents to sexually abuse their own children and recorded it to use as blackmail. Porter also used other methods of force, such as duct taping and tying women to chairs, burning them with cigarettes and firing guns by their ears.
For example, two co-defendants took a seven-year-old child to Porter’s residence on a regular basis to traffic the child sexually in exchange for pills. The abuse occurred a few times per week for up to five years.
Porter was arrested in March 2020 on local charges during a human trafficking sting operation by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
After Porter was arrested locally, his friends and relatives – including two of his daughters and one of his cousins – attempted to destroy evidence on Porter’s behalf.
For example, his daughters dug holes in the ground on Porter’s property to retrieve and attempt to conceal or destroy SD cards containing child pornography that had been buried in Porter’s yard. Agents found eight DVDs containing Porter’s child pornography at the house of one of Porter’s friends. Porter’s cousin discussed in jail calls with Porter their plans to assault and potentially kill a witness they believed was a source for law enforcement.
Porter pleaded guilty on Aug. 10 to conspiring to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, child sex trafficking, and participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy. Porter’s plea agreement includes a sentencing range of a minimum of 15 years and up to 55 years in prison.
The Court will set future sentencing dates for each of the defendants and the sentences imposed will be determined by the Court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost; Jackson County Sheriff Tedd E. Frazier; Jackson County Prosecutor Justin Lovett; Scioto County Sheriff David Thoroughman and Scioto County Prosecutor Shane A. Tieman announced the convictions. Senior Litigation Counsel Heather A. Hill and Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer Rausch and Jessica W. Knight are representing the United States in this case.
# # #