Local man arrested in Ohio human trafficking sting in which 109 victims rescued

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — A New Castle man was among 179 people arrested in a human trafficking sting in Ohio.

Jarod Mills, a 33-year-old part-time instructor at Butler County Community College, faces four felony charges, including unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He was arrested Oct. 22 by the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.

The sting, Operation Autumn Hope, led to the rescue of 109 human trafficking victims, which included 45 children.

>>STORY: Operation Autumn Hope: More than 100 human trafficking survivors rescued

“Across southern Ohio, 76 missing and exploited children cases were cleared, including 45 by physical recovery by the U.S. Marshals Service,” a news release from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office stated.

Mills has been placed on leave by Butler County Community College, which released the following statement:

“Butler County Community College learned Tuesday that one of its part-time instructors was arrested Oct. 22 in Ohio and charged with four felonies. The college has placed Jarod Mills on a leave of absence and his current class, being taught remotely, has been reassigned to another instructor. Court records reflect that a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday in Mahoning County, Ohio. BC3 will have no further comment.”

Investigators said Mills is also the pastor at Clifton Flat Alliance Church just outside of New Castle.

In a sermon he posted on the church’s Facebook page on Oct. 18, he talked about temptation: “We talked about how temptation is not always in your face, but sometimes it is secretive, covert or manipulative.”

His status as the pastor there is unclear, as Channel 11 reached out to the church with no answer.

Mills posted bond and has a preliminary hearing Friday morning.