More than 40 arrested in Central Texas prostitution sting

By Joshua Fechter

Jennifer Love Hewitt
Jennifer Love Hewitt as hooker Samantha in Client List

Officers for local and state law enforcement agencies arrested more than 40 people during a four-day prostitution operation in October in Austin — including a man who worked as an advocate for sex trafficking victims.

Of the 41 arrests made Oct. 20-24, 28 men were charged with Class B misdemeanor prostitution — punishable by up to 180 days in jail — for agreeing to purchase sex in exchange for money, the Austin Police Department announced Monday.

Among the 28 men arrested was Nathaniel Schlueter, a member of the board of directors for The Refuge Ranch, a Christian-based organization to help teenage victims of human trafficking.

Brooke Crowder, the organization's founder and director, told KXAN that Schleuter was removed from the board when they found out about his Tuesday arrest and that he is no longer involved with Refuge Ranch.

Five women were arrested on the same charge for offering sex for money. Two women had their charges bumped up to a state jail felony, punishable by a maximum two-year prison sentence.

Officers made six other unspecified misdemeanor arrests in connection with the sting, according to the news release.

Some arrestees netted additional charges: one man, unspecified, was charged with evading a vehicle and on other felony warrants.

Another man was also charged with state jail felony possession of a controlled substance — cocaine.

One woman was charged with resisting arrest and pedestrian in the roadway for attempting to interfere with a street operation, the news release said.

The joint operation was conducted by the Austin Police Department Human Trafficking Unit, Region 2 and Region 4 Metro Tactical Teams and the Texas Attorney General's Office.

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