The Lake County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Group concluded a long-term investigation into the sex-trafficking of a juvenile, after receiving a tip from Round Lake Beach Police. During the course of the investigation, Sheriff’s Special Investigations Group Detectives discovered Sheila E. Johnston, 33, of the 1200 block of Sunset Drive, Round Lake Beach, was potentially pimping a 15-year-old girl, who she previously held legal guardianship over.
On July 12, 2019, Johnston posted an advertisement on a website offering the juvenile to participate in sexual acts in exchange for money. Undercover Sheriff’s Detectives communicated with Johnston and she agreed to offering the juvenile and herself to engage in sexual acts in exchange for money.
Johnston trafficked the juvenile to a hotel in Waukegan, where she met with who she thought was a customer, but was really an undercover Sheriff’s Detective. During the meeting Johnston offered both herself and the juvenile to engage in sexual acts for money. Following the agreement, Johnston was placed under arrest and the juvenile was taken into protective custody.
The juvenile was transported to safe shelter and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has taken protective custody of her.
Johnston was subsequently charged with:
Trafficking in Persons, Involuntary Sexual Servitude of a Minor (Class X Felony)
Promoting Juvenile Prostitution (Class 1 Felony)
Prostitution (Class A Misdemeanor)
Johnston remains held in the Lake County Jail pending an initial court hearing this morning.
Sheriff John Idleburg said, “There is nothing more revolting than taking the innocence away from a juvenile and promoting a child for prostitution. I am very proud of the collaboration which went into this investigation to identify and arrest a sexual trafficker, while rescuing a juvenile. In addition to seeking drug pushers, gun traffickers, and other violent felons, our Special Investigations Group will work tirelessly to arrest those who force juveniles or adults into sexual servitude.”
All suspects are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Gurnee Police Department provided assistance during this investigation.