Johnston Police officer arrested in sex sting faces human trafficking charge


A 13-year veteran of the Johnston Police force has been suspended following his arrest a Massachusetts hotel.

Johnston Police Officer Viet Hung Nguyen, 46, of Brockton, has been charged with one count of Trafficking of a Person For Sexual Servitude, after a prostitution sting in Plymouth County.

“The officer is suspended without pay and has been employed for the past 13 years,” Johnston Police Chief Joseph Razza said Tuesday.

Nguyen was one of five men charged, following an alleged encounter Aug. 5 with an undercover police officer posing as a female online, according to Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz’s office.

The operation was a collaboration between the Massachusetts State Police High Risk Victims Unit, the Rockland Police Department, Boston Police Human Trafficking Task Force and the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department.

The “mission” was an attempt “to reduce the demand of commercial sexual exploitation occurring in Plymouth County,” according to a press release from Cruz’s office.

“Investigators posted a commercial sex advertisement online, and a police officer working undercover posed as a female escort,” according to the press release. “A Rockland hotel was utilized as the meeting place.”

Four other men were also arrested: Brian Dick, 49 of Abington, James Bi, 35, of Wakefield, Brendan Garafalo, 26, of Lakeville, and Eric VanRiper, 38, of Pembroke.

All five men were arraigned Aug. 6 in Hingham District Court, on one charge each of Trafficking of a Person For Sexual Servitude.

“Each pleaded not guilty and were released on their own personal recognizances,” according to Cruz’s office. “They are next scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 15.”

Between 8 p.m. and midnight Aug. 5, the five men, “separately, allegedly contacted the undercover phone number assigned to the online commercial sex post,” according to a press release provided by Plymouth County District Attorney spokeswoman Beth Stone. “The men and undercover investigator arranged to meet up and exchange a sexual act for various monetary amounts. The defendants were then given the location and room number at the hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, the men were placed under arrest and taken into custody.”

Section 50 of the Massachusetts criminal code defines the charge of Trafficking of a Person For Sexual Servitude.

“(a) Whoever knowingly: (i) subjects, or attempts to subject, or recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides or obtains by any means, or attempts to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide or obtain by any means, another person to engage in commercial sexual activity, a sexually-explicit performance or the production of unlawful pornography … shall be guilty of the crime of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than 5 years but not more than 20 years and by a fine of not more than $25,000.”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here