(PatriotWise.com)—A senior Pentagon official was among the more than two dozen individuals arrested on November 15 in a two-day human trafficking sting in Georgia, Military.com reported.
Stephen Hovanic of Sharpsburg, Georgia, who serves as the chief of staff for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools – Americas Region, was arrested and charged with pandering, which is described as compelling or inducing someone to engage in prostitution.
Hovanic, 64, was one of 26 individuals arrested on charges involving prostitution, drugs, and weapons in a two-day sting operation by the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Toby Nix, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, told the Times-Herald that pandering “is not a victimless crime” since demand for prostitutes is what drives the trafficking industry.
In Georgia, pandering is a misdemeanor that is punishable by a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Hovanic first joined the DoDEA in 1996 as the assistant principal of Quantico High School, principal of the DoDEA’s Dahlgren School in Virginia in 2001, and in 2008 was transferred to Peachtree City, Georgia, where he was an instructional systems specialist at the DoDEA service center. He was promoted to chief of staff for the DoDEA Americas Region in 2010.
Before joining the Defense Department, Hovanic worked in Virginia as a public high school teacher, coach, and administrator.
A spokesman for the DoDEA confirmed that Hovanic had been placed on leave but would not comment on his arrest, citing the “ongoing legal processes.”
The two-day sting also involved the Haralson County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia, the nonprofit group Frontline Response Out of Darkness, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Six trafficking victims were rescued during the operation, according to the Haralson County Sheriff’s Office.
Of the 26 individuals arrested in the two-day sting, 12 were charged with prostitution, 10 were charged with pandering, and four were charged with pimping.
Copyright 2023, PatriotWise.com