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Hanoverton area man charged in sex-related crime

Mahoning County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Rich and K-9 Bubba search the home of Jay T. Kelly on Wednesday for electronics equipment containing child pornography. (Submitted Photo)

HANOVERTON — A Hanoverton area man has been charged with sex-related solicitation crimes with other charges possible after a number of electronic items were seized from his home after a search warrant was issued Wednesday.

Jay Thomas Kelly, 58, state Route 518, Hanoverton, has been charged with compelling prostitution, a third-degree felony; importuning and possessing criminal tools, both fifth-degree felonies; and a misdemeanor soliciting charge. He is scheduled for video arraignment this morning in County Municipal Court.

According to Detective Daniel Haueter of the East Palestine Police Department, the charges came following an investigation by agents of the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, which revealed Kelly was interested in having sex with mothers and their daughters in exchange for money, including sexual activities with underaged girls. Additionally, investigators learned Kelly potentially was in possession of potential child pornography.

The human trafficking task force, the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Department, the East Palestine Police Department, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Rich, who is the handler for K-9 Bubba, were assisted by the Columbiana County Prosecutor’s Office in obtaining a warrant and searched the home of Kelly, 33088 state Route 518 in Hanoverton on Wednesday. With the assistance of K-9 Bubba, who is specially trained in locating electronic devices hidden in a home, agents recovered numerous items related to the case.

In a release, Prosecutor Vito Abruzzino praised the work of authorities in investigating the case.

“These types of crimes are particularly despicable and have no place in society or this county,” Abruzzino said. “We will prosecute these acts to the fullest extent permitted under the law. I thank our law enforcement partners for their outstanding work.”

The Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force has been especially active in Columbiana County over the past few months leading to about 20 arrests and charges, some felonies and some misdemeanors of men from both in and away from the area.

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