COLUMBUS — Websites promoting prostitution in Columbus and other areas around Ohio in July 2019 featured an advertisement that offered sex with a 14-year-old girl.
The man found responsible for that advertisement, 28-year-old Nicholas S. Cochran of Lima, Ohio, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Columbus to 500 months - more than 41 years - in federal prison.
Cochran in January pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking a minor and one count of committing a sex offense against a minor as a registered sex offender.
As part of his sentence, Cochran will pay full restitution to the victim and others impacted by the crimes. He will remain under court supervision for the rest of his life and pay more than $10,200 in fines and assessments.
“While unthinkable to most of us, sex trafficking of children is real and organized,” said David M. DeVillers, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus. “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 designed to identify and arrest sex traffickers and recover child victims.
The 14-year-old girl from Celina, was reported missing in July 2019. Family members believed her to be in the company of a man named “Nick” in Dublin, Ohio.
Between July 9 and July 14, 2019, Cochran posted around 25 ads on websites for the Columbus, Dayton and Lima-Findlay areas. The ads offered sex with the girl and contained nude photographs.
Allen County Sheriff’s deputies on Aug. 9 made a traffic stop on Cochran, who had some outstanding warrants on unrelated cases. Deputies seized Cochran’s phone.
On the same day, the 14-year-old victim, who was in a Lima hotel, managed to get to a phone and called her parents.
Cochran had a prior history as a sex offender. He was convicted in 2009 on two counts of sexual battery and one count of attempted sexual battery in Henry County, northwest Ohio.
“The selling of a human being for the purpose of sex is Stephen King-level evil,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.