ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo (KMOV.com) -- An Imperial man faces charges for sexual trafficking of a child for allegedly soliciting a 15-year-old girl to perform sex acts on him.
Police say 55-year-old Patrick Sekula thought he was texting a 15-year-old, but it was an undercover officer.
St. Louis County police say it’s a problem they are seeing all too often. Authorities say men are no longer interested in adult prostitutes; they are targeting teens.
“We’ve seen in the St. Louis area that the crime has increased in the past year, year and a half,” said St. Louis County Sergeant Adam Kavenaugh.
Sergeant Kavanaugh is with the special investigative unit of the St. Louis county police department. He says what he and fellow officers have found is upsetting, but what they haven’t yet seen is what really scares him.
What Kavenaugh and his special operations unit have discovered is that johns are looking for younger women.
“When interviewing women on a regular basis they are telling us that men are asking for younger women, family Members or children that are younger,” he said.
They unit sets up stings through tips. Sometimes a prostitute will tell them about men looking for children. Other times, it’s a concerned parent.
When the men are confronted, Kavenaugh says it’s the same story every time.
“I wasn’t going to do it,” he said. “It’s like a recording.”
Kavenaugh is a father of five, and he says it’s impossible not to have it in his head.
“It makes me more diligent,” he said.