Pastor caught in prostitution sting pleads not guilty

First Posted: 8/7/2014

LIMA — A local pastor caught for the second time in prostitution sting at a motel filed a written not guilty plea Thursday.

Pastor Ron Fails of Grace Church World Wide Ministries pleaded not guilty to soliciting, a misdemeanor. He signed a bond to avoid being held in jail.

Fails, 56, was charged over a June 18 incident involving a task force sting focusing on prostitution. Fails logged onto a website known for prostitution and escort services. He responded to an undercover officer who posted as a 19-year-old girl. He made numerous contacts with her, including over the phone, Sgt. Dave Gillispie of the Lima Police Department said.

During the conversations, Fails was extremely worried whether she was an undercover police officer and asked her numerous times about that, Gillispie said.

When he arrived at the motel, he also brought the exact amount of cash she requested — which he had taken out from an ATM machine 20 minutes earlier — and condoms. When police moved in to arrest him, he said he was there to counsel her, Gillispie said.

The arrest marked the second time Fails has faced the soliciting charge. He pleaded no contest to soliciting following his arrest three years ago in a sting. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail. Fails later had the crime expunged from his record.

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