Tempe PD: Multiple arrests made in child prostitution sting - CBS 5 - KPHO

Tempe PD: Multiple arrests made in child prostitution sting

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Several dozen people were arrested in a sting operation targeting prostitution, Tempe police said Thursday.

Authorities focused on suspects soliciting underage girls for sex acts, women soliciting acts of prostitution and pimps.

According to police, undercover detectives posing as young teenage girls went to the web where prostitution is most prevalent. According to court documents, the undercover cops posted ads on backspace.com using titles like "Blonde newbies!! 2 Girl Special!"

Tempe Police Lt. Mike Pooley said almost immediately after posting the ads, undercover officers were getting several calls from potential Johns. 

At the conclusion of the online sting, police said 14 men were arrested from across the Valley.

"These men who were arrested, they blend in," Pooley said. "They blend in with our community, they blend in everywhere they go."

Of those arrested, police say Jared Barnes, 25, was looking for a "quickie" with two underage girls just two-days before his wedding date.

Another man arrested, Christopher Benson, 35, is the son of Grammy Award winning musician, George Benson. Benson listed his address as being his father's $2.5-million Paradise Valley mansion.

According to court documents, Benson asked the faux teenage prostitutes to perform an unusual fetish. The documents further state Benson arrived at a Tempe hotel after agreeing to pay "$80 for one hour."

Other men arrested for child prostitution in this week-long sting include:

Mark Varela, 21, of Scottsdale.

Matthew Ells, 37, of Tempe.

Anthony Collins, 24, of Tempe.

William Proehl, 30, of Phoenix.

Michael Keller, 26, of Tempe.

Hemanth Veeragandham, 19, of Tempe.

Marc Marois, 47, of Mesa.

John Bazile, 30, of Mesa.

Connor O'Hara, 20, of Mesa.

Jose Arizmendiz, 29, of Mesa.

Tom Chin, 42, of Chandler.

Joseph Matthews, 31, of Kingman.

The operation also saw some of the detectives contacting women that had posted escort ads online. The investigation later determined these women were offering sexual favors for money, police said. 

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates on this developing story.

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