|9 charged in
West Knoxville motel prostitution bust
KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knox County Sheriff’s Office Vice Unit arrested seven men and two women during an undercover operation at a West Knoxville motel on Thursday.
Police were conducting a reverse prostitution operation by posting on Backpage.com under the escorts section. Defendants booked appointments at the Motel 6, located on Harry Lane Boulevard in Knoxville and exchanged money for sex. The motel is within 1.5 miles of Cedar Bluff elementary and middle schools, as well as Knoxville Catholic High School.
Katelen Elisabeth Shepherd, 19, was charged with prostitution after officers said they spotted her listing in the escorts section of Backpage.com. A detective contacted Shepherd and made an appointment. She met him at the motel and once she arrived she required him to perform a “leo check” by touching her breast.
“Leo check” is slang for law enforcement check. These are several different tests used by hookers and johns in order to supposedly prove that he or she is not a police officer.
The undercover officer paid $160 in cash for one half hour of full service sex. Shepherd was taken into custody for prostitution.
Those arrested include: