PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office along with investigators from Brunswick, Yarmouth and Bridgton say they've nabbed 11 people in a prostitution sting: 4 prostitutes, and 7 johns.
26-year old Angela Cloutier of Bridgton, 32-year old Carolyn Dewberry of Gray and 26-year old Samantha Pecoraro of Yarmouth have been charged with engaging in prostitution. 43-year old Norma Jean Greenleaf has been charged with engaging in Prostitution and Possession of Scheduled Drugs.
69-year old Newell Perkins of Ogunquit, 49-year old Spencer Richie of Woolwich, 49-year old Todd Donatello of Falmouth, 25-year old Eric Mayo of Saco, 32-year old Chad Roper of Kennebunk, 45-year old Joseph Miller of Portland, and 50-year old Erick Van'Savage of New Hartford, New York have all been charged with Engaging a Prostitute.
The task force held a news conference Thursday to announce the sting. They say online advertising is helping prostitutes in more rural areas advertise their services, and not just on Craigs List. According to police, the website backpage.com is the new place to go.
They say a deputy posing as a prostitute posted on backpage.com, and got 150 responses in just two days, many of the calls coming from New York City.
Sheriff Kevin Joyce says the task force could have made many more arrests if it had more time. He doesn't see prostitution as a problem that's going away.
"We're chasing our tail," Joyce said. "Basically we're going to move them into someone else's neighborhood, and then they're going to flow back. But we're at least making the public aware that it is happening. We're at least going to let the prostitutes, the pimps, the johns know that guess what? We're going to be out there. You're gonna get caught in this dragnet, brought in."
The alleged johns are due in court on October 12.
NEWS CENTER spoke with Lorraine Ela in light of these arrests. She is the mother of Megan Waterman, a young single mother from Maine, who posted advertisements online for sex. Her body was found along with three other prostitutes on a beach on Long Island, New York in December.
Lorraine Ela says no amount of money is worth putting your life in jeopardy. She says you never know who is responding to an online post.