Darknet Prostitution Sting: Jackson State University’s President Busted


William Bynum Jr., the president to Jackson State University, Mississippi, has been busted together with 17 others in a dark web prostitution sting. According to the Clinton Police, the president of Jackson State University and the other culprits were arrested as a result of a two-day undercover operation on the dark web. Undercover police agents posted an ad for prostitution services on several dark web marketplaces. The dark web prostitution ad included the price range, preferred type of prostitute and the location for the meetup, which was at a hotel Chain in Clinton, Mississippi.

Many culprits, including the president of the university, responded to the ad and made plans to meet up, not knowing it was an undercover operation by officers of the Clinton police department. After the two-day sting, the culprits arrived at the hotel chain (Fairfield Inn hotel, near interstate 20) in Clinton where they were busted by undercover police officers and were hit with eight felony charges, including prostitution and promoting prostitution.

Jackson State

Image Source: www.thesun.co.uk

According to reports, Bynum, together with the other culprits were arrested early Sunday morning, with the president of Jackson State University being charged with procuring the services of a prostitute, a simple possession of marijuana and false statement of identity. Ford Hayman, Clinton Police Chief, responding to claims that Bynum tried to hide his real identity stated that the school president tried to convince police officers that he was someone else. Without getting into particulars, he did try that and was subsequently charged with providing false identity, Police Chief Hayman added.

Mark Jones, the spokesperson for the Clinton Police department, when asked if the culprits arrived at the hotel together, stated that the department doesn’t believe so but it’s early to come to any conclusion as everything is pure speculation at this point. Police Chief Hayman also debunked any rumor of any pattern or activities to suggest that dark web prostitution or sexual exploitation of minors was prevalent in the city. At a news conference on January 10, 2020, he stated that it was really unfortunate that the police department had to arrest 17 of their people who would use the dark web for such activities.

He added that he honestly wish the police department hadn’t arrested anyone as he wanted his city to be clear of such despicable acts. He, however, made it clear that the Clinton Police department was going to do all they can to ensure that any criminal activity and certainly not dark web prostitution wasn’t going to transpire in the city. The Clinton Police departments also revealed that the culprits arrested, were aged between 23 to 57 years old and contained both men and women.

The 57-year-old served four years as president of Mississippi Valley State University before being named the president of Jackson State since 2017. A look at his Biography on the website of Jackson State University revealed his motto to be about God and some messages from the scripture which read “Look back and thank God. Look within and serve God, Look forward and serve and trust God.”

According to reports, Bynum wasn’t the preferred choice for the University president when he was appointed as he didn’t even make the three finalists. This decision sparked a lot of controversies including protests from the student body and some alumni as some believed the school was overspending already having declared that, they were facing some financial problems.

Bynum told the students at that time that, he understands that he may not be their choice or even qualified for the job but they should just give him the chance and watch him work. Clinton Police Chief Hayman stated that the investigation is still ongoing and cannot confirm if everyone who responded to the undercover ad they posted on the dark web showed up at the hotel. He added that Bynum has been married for over 30 years, with six children.

Jackson State

Image Source: www.jacksonstate.wordpress.com

Bynum was released on a $3,000 bond after being held in custody for a day and is set to appear in court on March 11, 2020.  He subsequently handed in his resignation which took effect immediately. The central governing body for all public universities in Mississippi met and appointed Thomas Hudson, the administrator for Jackson State as the interim president. Hudson was also the special assistant to the outgone president and chief diversity officer.

Another culprit arrested in the undercover sting is Shonda McCarthy, the director of art galleries at Jackson State University. The 46-year-old was also charged with possession of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle and procuring services of a prostitute. Reports from the Clinton Police department stated that McCarthy was known as Shon McCarthy Simmons in 2015 and used to live in New York for 12 years before moving back to Jackson. She also owned a very popular clothes boutique called Lolli by Reincarnation and sold items to celebrities including Cameron Diaz.

McCarthy reportedly moved to Jackson to raise her son who was six years old back then. She is also a member of the Advisory Board of Hip Hop Hall of Fame (Arts Education), New York, as well as the Jackson State University Jazz Series Committee. She was released after posting a $2,000 bail and is also set to appear in court on March 11, 2020.

Four of the other suspects arrested in the undercover sting were from Memphis and were also charged with promoting or conspiracy to promote prostitution. The Clinton Police department added that those people could be part of a dark web multi-state prostitution ring.

Source: Newser

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