Residents and business react to prostitution sting at Kibby Corn - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

Residents and business react to prostitution sting at Kibby Corners

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One Lima neighborhood fights back against a long-time problem some residents say is getting worse.

Tom and Nancy Redding have lived in the Kibby Corners neighborhood for 35 years.  They say prostitution's always been a problem, but it seems to be getting worse.

"There's always been some prostitution, you know, sometimes it's heavier and then it moves over someplace else, and then it comes back," he said.

Valerie Howell who owns a business near the Redding's agrees.  She says prostitutes sit on the church steps across the street from her business all day and all night, and it's not just their presence that's affecting her business.

"What really bothers me is when they approach my customers. That's what really bothers me and I've had several customers tell me they have been approached," Howell said.

The Lima Police Department is working with area businesses to stop prostitution.  Officers hope a recent undercover operation stops prostitutes and those soliciting them in their tracks. 

"This is just a continuation of our working with those businesses to clean up the area overall," Lt. Pat Coon said.

Lima Police arrested five people: two men, one a juvenile, and three women.  The adult man, Ronald Fails is Pastor of Grace Church Worldwide Ministries.  He's charged with two counts of soliciting and one count of loitering to solicit.  Fails told Your News Now he's innocent. 

Two of the others arrested, Rose Morrison and Trisha Smith made their first court appearances Wednesday. Morrison is charged with soliciting and loitering. Smith faces the same charges plus possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sandra Bendit was also arrested in the sting, charged with soliciting and loitering.

Kibby Corners residents say it's going to take a community effort in cutting down on the prostitution problem.  They hope some of the local churches join the efforts.

"The church next door has been leaving tracks over there for the prostitutes so they would get some wisdom about what they're doing," Howell said.

"Rather than just condemning, yes it's wonderful, it's wholesome, and it's sad to see the women out there, but there has to be something more than just chasing them away and putting them in jail for a few days," Nancy Redding said.

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