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Preschool employee and counselor among group arrested in Ohio child-sex investigation sting

Posted at 12:40 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 14:44:24-05

JACKSON TONWSHIP, Ohio — On Tuesday, the Jackson Township Police Department in Ohio announced more than a dozen arrests from a four-day undercover child-sex sting dubbed Operation: Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

According to police, 14 people who thought they were meeting up with a child were arrested by Jackson Township police and members of the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stark County Sheriff's Office and other local, state and federal authorities.

Police said that undercover investigators posed as boys and girls between the ages of 12 to 15-years-old and conversed with adults who expressed interest in meeting a child to engage in sexual activity. The agents then set up a location to meet with the adults who were then taken into custody when they showed up.

According to the Stark County Prosecutor's Office, the arrested individuals face various charges such as pandering obscenities involving a minor and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Police said that agents used online chats and social media apps to have conversations with those individuals who were arrested. Every individual arrested during the operation believed they were going to a location to meet with a child.

Authorities said that the people arrested in the sting ran the gamut of professions, ranging from utility workers, to counselors to one individual identified as a preschool employee at YWCA in Canton. Authorities identified the preschool employee as Jerry Ragsale, who has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.

The YWCA released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

"On February 3, 2020, the YWCA Canton placed employee, Jerry Roeal Ragsdale, on unpaid administrative leave as soon as the agency learned of his arrest for an alleged inappropriate situation with a minor. While on administrative leave, Mr. Ragsdale does not have access to our facility. The YWCA has contacted the parents and guardians whose children had direct contact with Mr. Ragsdale. Our utmost concern is the safety and protection of our children who attend our preschool and utilize our services. The YWCA will continue to take every precaution necessary to protect our children."