Oregon State University Fisheries and Wildlife instructor David Paoletti was arrested and cited along with six other men last week during a prostitution sting by the Benton County Sheriff's Department.
On April 24 and 25, the Sheriff's Department conducted a prostitution sting by placing an advertisement on a website used for illegal sex services such as prostitution and human trafficking. Paoletti, along with the six other men involved, are scheduled to appear in court on May 20. All suspects were released with citations until that date.
Paoletti did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
According to Steve Clark, the Vice President for University Relations and Marketing, the university is aware of the matter and will take appropriate action.
“OSU takes seriously all accusations of criminal wrongdoing involving our students and employees, and fully cooperates with law enforcement and the courts,” Steve Clark, Vice President of Oregon State said via email. “Beyond this information, the university is not able to discuss publicly specific personnel matters.”
Clark also mentioned if a teacher needed to be replaced before the end of the term, the teacher in question’s department or unit would be responsible for finding a substitute.
Paoletti is listed as an undergraduate student advisor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and according to OSU’s course catalog, he is currently an Ecampus instructor for upper-division courses.
According to Detective Sergeant Christopher Duffitt, who helped execute the sting, the Sheriff’s Department regularly puts ads on similar websites and gathers information on the phone numbers that respond to the advertisements.
“Recently, we have done stings like this yearly to address the problems and issues related to human trafficking and prostitution in this community,” Duffitt said.
According to Duffitt, stings like these ones typically involve five to seven detectives, all with different responsibilities. The tasks could range from surveillance and safety to interviewing suspects who arrive at the scene. The sheriff's department starts stings by finding a site linked to illegal sex acts and posting an ad among existing ads with a phone number to call.
Typically, the phone number will receive calls within minutes of posting the ads, and won’t stop receiving calls until the phone number is taken down from the website. In order to not interfere with past cases, the Sheriff's Department uses a different phone number each time they conduct a sting.
Duffitt says the phone numbers are typically populated onto other sites once the ads are posted, so in order for the calls to stop they need to remove the phone number and advertisement.
Duffit explained most human trafficking and prostitution cases occur on the internet. Once the Sheriff's Office places an ad, the sting will occur within the next day or two.