Police investigate suspected prostitution ring, cite woman

Ashland police officers cited a 36-year-old woman for prostitution last week and are continuing their monthlong investigation into a suspected prostitution ring in the city, police said Wednesday.

Police cited Annette Marie Wilson for prostitution June 30, according to Sgt. Jim Alderman with the Ashland Police Department. She allegedly advertised on the Web site Craigslist and met men at motels, her home and private residences, all in Ashland, detectives said.

"This is absolutely uncommon for our city — not that we don't get reports of prostitution, or of people prostituting downtown or in the bars, but never in a situation like this where we have this type of investigation," Alderman said. "She knew what she was doing. This was her business."

The Ashland Police Department investigation revealed at least 12 men were involved in the crimes, according to a news release.

Police suspect Wilson, who also uses the name Kristine Marie Ledford-Besk, involved other women in her prostitution enterprise. Detectives believe she set up sexual encounters in Ashland for other prostitutes, Alderman said.

Police plan to arrest additional people in the case, the release said.

Sgt. Alderman said he couldn't comment on whether police plan to arrest any of the men involved.

"In a lot of these cases, it comes down to cooperation," he said. "People who cooperate with us and help us in the investigation — that goes in their favor. We're working very closely with the district attorney's office. I can't say whether any of the males will be charged or not."

Prostitutes who post on Craigslist usually don't explicitly advertise sexual services, Alderman said, adding that he couldn't disclose details about what Wilson posted on the Web site.

"Most of the prostitutes that work out of Craigslist don't say, 'I'm a prostitute and this is what I'm doing.' Most of them are massage type things and most of the prostitution parts are negotiated when the people meet," he said. "But everybody knows what's going to happen. It's a-wink-and-a-nod kind of thing."

Detectives also believe Wilson was involved in a fraudulent charity, the Haley Foundation, and claimed to have an education and treatment facility for children with disabilities.

"We're looking for victims who donated time or money to her," Alderman said. "Anybody that's been involved in this from a donor standpoint should talk to us about how they were approached and what they were told was going to happen."

Wilson may have been involved in theft and identity theft, police said. Detectives continue to investigate the case, and additional charges against Wilson are pending, according to police.

Detectives may release more information on the case next week, Alderman said.

Wilson was cited by Medford police for prostitution in two separate incidents in 2008 and 2009. In the 2009 case, which involved Craigslist postings, Wilson was charged with promoting prostitution, a felony.

A month after she was cited in 2008, she unveiled plans to open the Haley Academy in late 2010 or early 2011 at a French-style mansion at 1280 Oak St. in Ashland.

At the press conference to announce her plans for the school, she said she was working as a massage therapist and a private caregiver.

At that time, she said the foundation had received more than $6,000 in donations.

Anyone who donated to the Haley Foundation or the Haley Academy, or who was solicited for a donation, is asked to contact Ashland police Detective Rick Spence at 541-552-2172.

Contact reporter Hannah Guzik at 541-482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.

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