Elyria councilman pleads not guilty to solicitation

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 1:48 PM EDT
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ELYRIA, Ohio (WOIO) - An Elyria city councilman facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly soliciting prostitution pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Elyria Municipal Court Wednesday.

Mark Jessie was one of 161 people arrested in a state-wide human trafficking sting.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officials took part in Operation Ohio Knows from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1.

Jessie was arrested in Elyria on Sept. 30.

He has provided the below statement to 19 News.

“There is no excuse for any of the things that happened, and it was unquestionably the worst decision of my life,” he said. “My only option is to take responsibility, accept the consequences, try to mend relationships with family and friends and move forward.”

Jessie remains out on bond.

He has been on city council for eight years and he’s up for re-election next month.

As far as his legal troubles goes, he faces up to 60 days in jail.

“Anybody in Ohio, or anywhere, who purchases sex is assuming the risk that they are complicit in human trafficking,” said Attorney General Dave Yost. “If we are interested in justice and basic dignity of human beings, then we have to be concerned about those purchasing sex.”

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