Last updated: August 23. 2013 3:39PM - 951 Views

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LIMA — A prominent local pastor arrested in a prostitution sting this week said Wednesday he is innocent and waiting his day in court.Pastor Ronald Fails of Grace Church Worldwide Ministries said he will defend himself in court not through the media.“I'm innocent until proven guilty,” he said.Fails was one of five people arrested late Tuesday and early Wednesday in connection with a prostitution sting targeting an area of complaints between South Main and South Elizabeth streets and West Vine and West Kibby streets, said Lima Police Lt. Patrick Coon.Fails, 53, is charged with two counts of soliciting and one count of loitering to engage in soliciting. He is scheduled to appear at an arraignment Friday at Lima Municipal Court. He was released after his arrest, Coon said. Fails was in his car when he approached “an undercover operative” posing as a prostitute and solicited her, Coon said.Police used two undercover women for men to approach and two undercover men to approach women on the street offering prostitution, Coon said.The others arrested in separate incidents and their charges were:Rose Morrison, 34, of Lima: soliciting and loitering to engage in solicitation. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.Trisha Smith, 27, of Lima: soliciting, loitering to engage in solicitation and possession of drug paraphernalia. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.Sandra D. Bendit, 46, of Lima: soliciting and loitering to engage in solicitation. Scheduled to appear in court Friday. An unnamed 15-year-old boy: two counts of soliciting and loitering to engage in solicitation.While prostitution is on the decline, police officials do receive complaints and it does affect the quality of life in a neighborhood, Coon said.“That neighborhood has had problems with prostitutes over the years,” he said. Prostitution also is tied to other illegal activity and is used to fund that activity. It also raises health concerns with sexually transmitted diseases, Coon said.Those who solicit prostitutes come from all walks of life, rich and poor, and from various places including communities and counties around Lima, Coon said.Fails' arrest was the second time he has come under investigation in connection with a prostitution sting. In 2003, police attempted to stop Fails for allegedly soliciting a prostitute. Fails fled, nearly striking an officer with a car owned by his church. Minutes later he crashed the car, pushed the woman out of the car and drove home. Police found him several hours later, according to a Lima Police report.Fails was vague with his explanation of what happened saying he frequented the area trying to minister women after dealing with issues concerning a sister of his that he said was a prostitute. He didn't explain why he left the scene of the crash and said he thought the two officers who initially approached his car were robbers so he quickly drove away. Fails only was charged with traffic charges in the incident and failing to follow the order of an officer. He pleaded no contest to failure to comply with an officer, reckless operation, and failure to file a required report. He was given a 30-day suspended jail sentence and fined $400.

Local pastor charged with soliciting prostitute

Local pastor charged with soliciting prostitute

Local pastor charged with soliciting prostitute
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