Wednesday, January 14, 2009 10:52 PM
By Theodore Decker
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Columbus vice detectives monitoring online discussions among clients of prostitutes for years have noticed a man posting under the names "Sullivant Guy," "Broad Street Guy," "Toby" and "God O Thunder."
The man, like many others on the sites, would trade information about street hookers and online escorts. He would recommend some prostitutes, issue warnings about others and give advice on ways to avoid law enforcement.
Detectives said today that they arrested the "go-to guy" behind those posts.
Robert Eric McFadden, who was the director of Gov. Ted Strickland's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives until his transfer to another state job in fall 2007, was arrested in Dublin.
McFadden, 46, of 6290 Hyland Dr. in Dublin, was taken into custody on seven prostitution-related counts, including charges that he promoted a 17-year-old prostitute online.
The charges include compelling prostitution involving a minor, promoting prostitution and pandering. He is being held in the Franklin County jail pending an appearance in Municipal Court this morning.
Police said they have seized a computer and two vehicles. One was his wife's car, which detectives said was the setting for photos of the 17-year-old girl that McFadden then posted online.
Police have identified the girl, who is cooperating with the investigation.
Detectives said McFadden was one of the men involved in a hooker-review Web site that spawned what police called a raffle for sex last fall and the creation of a Brewery District brothel.
Police had arrested an academic adviser at Ohio State University, a sex-abuse caseworker at Franklin County Children Services and a real-estate agent in connection with the brothel.
Through that investigation they learned that McFadden had been promoting the girl, who already had been advertising her sex services online, Sgt. Stan Latta said.
It is unclear how McFadden was compensated, if at all, for furthering the girl's business, police said.
Vice detective Jeff Ackley, stressing that he was speaking only generally, said johns have been known to promote prostitutes in return for sexual favors.
Before joining the Strickland administration, McFadden served as field director for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
He was hired in February 2007 to lead the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He was paid $36 an hour but was transferred to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in late October that year, Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey said.
The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is charged with making it easier for such organizations to compete for public funding, encouraging partnerships among the groups and measuring the impact those partnerships have on needy Ohioans.