South Carolina

Prostitution sting leads to 27 arrests, including elementary school teacher, SC cops say

Men thought they were arranging to meet with prostitutes on their lunch breaks, but they actually got caught in an online sting operation in Greenville, South Carolina, according to WSPA.

Greenville police say they arrested 27 men for solicitation, the television station reports.

One of the men is a physical education teacher at an Upstate elementary school, WYFF reports.

Jon Paul Placko is a gym teacher at Taylors Elementary in Greenville County, according to the television station. School officials say “Placko has been placed on administrative leave pending the resolution of his case,” WYFF reports.

He has worked for the school district for 19 years, according to the Greenville News,

Dubbed Operation May Day, undercover police officers posed as prostitutes on websites known to advertise those types of services, Fox Carolina reports.

The men “responded to the online ads to arrange sexual encounters for a fee,” according to Fox Carolina. But when they showed up, they were met by police instead.

“Typically, police said the men scheduled these encounters around lunchtime,” Fox Carolina reports.

“Our sting operation lured [the men who were arrested], and they brought cash payments in exchange for sexual encounters,” Greenville Police’s Donnie Porter told WSPA. “And of course, our officers were there to arrest them when they showed up.”

“The Greenville Police Department’s detectives and officers are constantly working to ensure public safety throughout our community,” Capt. Howie Thompson said, according to the Greenville News.

“Prostitution and other sexual crimes are harbingers to other serious unlawful activities to include human trafficking, drugs, guns, and numerous other public health issues,” he said, the newspaper reports.

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.