A stunning end to a human-trafficking case Ohio authorities spent years investigating. According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Michael Mearan, the Portsmouth attorney accused of masterminding a sex-trafficking ring had died. Mearan’s trial was scheduled to begin in January.
Long List of Charges
Mearan, a former Portsmouth City Councilman, faced a long list of charges. The charges claimed he was behind a human trafficking ring that operated for 15 years.
- One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity
- Three counts of trafficking in persons
- Five counts of compelling prostitution
- Nine counts of promoting prostitution
Allegations of Mearan compelling women in need of legal representation to serve as prostitutes swirled for years, the first real legal movement in the case happened in the spring of 2020, when in the early hours of March 25th, members of BCI and other Law Enforcement agencies detained him and raided his home office. Then, the BCI began asking anyone who may have been a victim of Mearan’s or have any information about suspicious activities to speak out.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman announced Mearan’s indictment back on October 23 of 2020.
Mearan’s Bail Revoked
In March of this year, Prosecutors asked to revoke Mearan’s bail. They asked Judge Patricia Cosgrove to send him back to jail for failing to comply with the conditions set forth in his bond. They cited that Mearan was forbidden to practice law (by Cosgrove) and continued to retain clients.
Cosgrove ordered Mearan to house arrest. He was only permitted to leave his home for medical or legal appointments and to observe any religious events.
Attorney General Yost said, “At least he died publicly charged for his crimes, and his victims knew the dignity of being heard and believed. They have survived him.”
Many on social media have expressed suspicions about Mearan’s death right before his trial was scheduled to begin, likening it to the death of human trafficker Jeffery Epstein, whom authorities said committed suicide in his jail cell while awaiting trial on multiple human trafficking charges.