Ohio: Human Trafficking Suspect Commits Suicide

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On October 11, 2018, a Mahoning County grand jury Thursday indicted four people for forcing juveniles and young women to have sex against their will, and a fifth person for warning them they were being investigated.  Ronald Hellman, 51, of Irma Drive; Charles Krusak, 78, of Lou Ida Boulevard in Austintown; James Jaster, 73, of South Avenue; and Lori Jackson, 43, of Randolph Street Northwest in Warren were indicted on charges of compelling and promoting prostitution, rape, obscenities involving a minor and forcing a minor to pose for nudity-oriented material and sexual performances.

In addition, the mother of one of the perpetrators warned her son, Ronald Hellman of being caught or discovered.  Elaine Hellman, 71, of Manhattan Avenue, a call taker for the Youngstown 911 Center was indicted for obstructing justice.

Members of the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, which investigated, said there were at least 80 victims and probably more and described the methods of how Hellman would “recruit”.  Hellman used drugs or “force” to control his victims who were young women and juveniles with drug problems.  He would video record them performing sex acts in his South Side home.

The Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin said “the investigation began in June after one of the victims was discovered by authorities. After interviewing the victim they were able to get enough information for search warrants and other interviews”.  In the indictment, there are only 12 victims listed most of them between the ages of 15-17 but there was one victim who was aged 33.

“This is a truly horrific case,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a news release.

“Our investigation found that many of these victims faced violence if they tried to resist or their addictions were exploited to force their compliance.”

Township police Chief Robert Gavalier said that officers found Charles Krusak, 78, dead of a gunshot wound about 8:30 a.m. Sunday at his Lou Ida Boulevard home.

It appears that Krusak had shot himself, Gavalier said.

Gavalier said that Krusak called 911 and said there were gunshots in the area. When officers went there to investigate they found Krusak dead, Gavalier said.

Krusak and four others were charged Thursday by a Mahoning County grand jury in a 104-count indictment with charges ranging from trafficking in persons to compelling prostitution. Krusak was arrested in August after authorities served a search warrant at his home in connection to the investigation and seized computer and video evidence.

He was arraigned on those charges but free on $100,000 bond at the time of the indictment. The other four suspects are in custody.

Charles Krusak, 78,  who was one of the 5 indicted last week is dead of a gunshot wound.  It occurred at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday at his Lou Ida Boulevard home.

Township police Chief Robert Gavalier said that Gavalier said Krusak called 911 and said there were gunshots in the area. When officers went there to investigate, they found Krusak dead, Gavalier said.  Krusak was arraigned by the grand jury in a 104 count indictment with various charges relating to trafficking and prostitution.  He was free on a $100,000 bond but the other four suspects are in custody.

On July 25, members of the state attorney general’s office including the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office and others served a search warrant at Krusak’s home after the state received a tip that Krusak was filming child pornography there. Krusak was taken into custody then, and Hellman was taken into custody a short time later. They were both arraigned in county court in Austintown and both given $100,000 bonds. Krusak was able to post his bond, but Hellman was not.

Krusak who was found dead in his backyard by police with his gun in one hand and a note in another that is not being disclosed faced 66 of the 104 counts of the indictment for activity that took place as far back as 2012. Investigators said they were looking at 80 victims in the case and probably more.

Anyone with information related to this investigation or who may be a victim is asked to contact the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Tip Line at 330-480-4940.

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