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Press Release

Lima man sentenced to nearly 42 years in prison for sex trafficking minor girl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A registered sex offender was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 500 months in prison for crimes related to sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl.


Nicholas Salvadore Cochran, 28, of Lima, Ohio, pleaded guilty in January 2020 to one count of sex trafficking a minor, and one count of committing a sex offense against a minor as a registered as a sex offender.


As part of his sentence, Cochran will pay full restitution to the victim and others impacted by the crimes, remain under court supervision for the rest of his life, pay a fine determined by the court and pay special assessments of $10,200.


“While unthinkable to most of us, sex trafficking of children is real and organized,” said U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers. “We must recognize the unthinkable and report suspicious activity for the sake of our most vulnerable. I would like to tell you that this is an isolated incident. It is not.” 


Cochran was arrested on Aug. 9, 2019, as part of Operation Independence Day – a nationwide FBI-led operation to identify and arrest sex traffickers and recover child victims. He has been in custody since his arrest. A federal grand jury indicted him on Sept. 6, 2019.


According to court documents, police began searching for a 14-year-old girl reported missing from Celina, Ohio in July 2019. Family members believed her to be in the Dublin, Ohio area with a man named “Nick.” Local law enforcement and the FBI began investigating information known about her to help locate the missing girl. The investigation included examination of ads posted on websites used for advertising prostitution.


Investigation of the advertisements revealed that between July 9 and July 14, Cochran posted approximately 25 ads for the Lima-Findlay, Dayton and Columbus areas. He posted ads for sex with the child victim daily, and those ads contained nude photographs of the minor.


Allen County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Cochran on a traffic stop in Lima, Ohio on an outstanding failure to appear warrant and seized Cochran’s phone. The victim called her parents from a hotel in Lima and was recovered.


Cochran had been convicted of two counts of sexual battery and one count of attempted sexual battery in Henry County, Ohio in 2009.


“The selling of a human being for the purpose of sex is Stephen King-level evil,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “I am proud of Jennifer Rausch and our federal and local partners for bringing this case to a just conclusion.”


David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost; Celina Police Chief Thomas Wale; Allen County Sheriff Matthew B. Treglia; Westerville Police Chief Charles Chandler and other members of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather A. Hill and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Rausch, Legal Director of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Human Trafficking Initiative, represented the United States in this case.


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Updated June 16, 2020

Project Safe Childhood