Portsmouth lawyer Michael Mearan arrested on human trafficking charges

Former Portsmouth, Ohio, city council member and attorney Michael Mearan was arrested today on human trafficking, racketeering and related charges, officials said.

The Scioto County Jail confirmed at 3:20 p.m. that deputies were in the process of booking Mearan, who was the focus of an Enquirer investigative report last year into sex trafficking in the small city 100 miles east of Cincinnati along the Ohio River.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost tweeted about the arrest.

Mearan, 74, is charged with nine counts of promoting prostitution, five counts of compelling prostitution, three counts of trafficking in person and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activities, Yost said.

All the charges are felonies. Yost said Mearan faces more than 70 years in prison if convicted.

Yost told The Enquirer a that Scioto County grand jury indicted Mearan on all the charges they were presented with Friday morning, and an arrest warrant was secured afterward.

Yost said Mearan's crimes were "egregious" because he was an attorney and had specialized knowledge of the criminal justice system. He said the lawyer abused his position.

"His victims were utterly powerless," Yost said. "One of the problems with this case is everyone thought Mr. Mearan was untouchable. The victims were reluctant to come forward because they thought nothing would ever happen to him, but something could happen to them."

Yost said now that Mearan has been charged, other victims may feel safe enough to come forward. He said he was impressed by the six women who are already a part of the case for their strength and resilience.

"When we called today and went around and talked to them to let them know... there was a deluge of tears," Yost said. "They never thought it would happen."

Linda Mills, 35, was promised a modeling contract in Chicago by Phil Malone, former Scioto County sheriff's deputy and dispatcher, only to be sex trafficked at the age of 15. The abuse lasted for years. Mills said she was forced to have sex with multiple men a night, and she became addicted to drugs. Mills became pregnant in 2003 from an unknown customer and had the baby girl in 2004. The baby was put up for adoption.

Mills cried when she heard of Mearan's arrest.

“I don’t think there’s words to describe on how I feel right now. I’m so blessed. I just hope he doesn’t get bond.

"No one’s ever believed me," Mills said. "It’s caused problems in my work life. I’m happy. I’m blessed, but I’m so angry right now. I’m so angry. I just wish I could look him in the face and all of the other ones and say look what you’ve done. Look what you’ve caused. So many of use innocent people who never had a chance. You’ve caused so many people to die. You’ve destroyed lives.

"He (Mearan) deserves to be there (jail). Why are you protecting this man? Lawyers, you know, judges, cops. Why are you protecting him? Because you’re a part of it and no one wanted to listen to people.”

Portsmouth lawyer Michael Mearan arrested on human trafficking charges Portsmouth lawyer Michael Mearan arrested on human trafficking charges Reviewed by Anson Moore on October 24, 2020 Rating: 5

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