Painkillers and pedophilia are amongst the accusations levied by a federal grand jury in Ohio last week against a Wheelersburg man, his kin and other associates.
In a 13-count indictment unsealed June 23, the grand jury in Columbus charged a nine-person pedophile ring with child sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, child pornography, witness tampering and swearing false statements to federal investigators.
At the center of the indictment is 69-year-old Larry Dean Porter, who was charged with sexually abusing three children in exchange for giving narcotics to their parents or guardians.
While Dean Porter’s charged conduct is listed as starting in 2013 and going on until his March 10 arrest in Jackson County, Ohio, federal arrest warrants state the exchange of juveniles’ innocence for dope could stretch back decades.
One confidential informant told authorities they “observed children who were believed to have been previously abused by Porter grow up and take their own children to Porter in exchange for drugs and money,” an arrest warrant states.
The investigation for the present charges began in April 2019, after authorities received reports in the Portsmouth area about Porter’s drug-for-child sex scheme, federal court records show. Federal agents noted in an arrest warrant that investigation stalled after several interviews because tracking down additional witnesses would’ve led to Porter being tipped off.
Ten years prior, Porter popped up on authorities radar when two victims came forward about the abuse, according to a warrant. The two victims — a brother and sister — said they were abused from the time they were 6 and 7, respectively, the warrant states.
Federal records show Porter fed the girl a pharmacy — including Percocets, Oxycontin, Valium, Klonopin and marijuana — leaving her with a drug addiction.
Both victims appeared to have aged out of the abuse in their early teens, when each reported Porter no longer raped them, the warrant states.
When the victims came forward, they told the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office that Porter pulled out a gun and fired it several times, threatening to kill them and their mother if the abuse was disclosed, a warrant states.
Scioto County detectives told federal authorities the siblings recanted their testimony.
Federal court records don’t show Porter coming to law enforcement’s attention until the intial probe in 2019.
In early March 2020, authorities received a break in the case, according to the warrants.
A confidential informant was working off a beef — charges — on behalf of her boyfriend for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. After two months of passing along information regarding other cases, the informant told authorities about an offer Porter made in 2013, according the authorities.
Porter had offered to “babysit” the child of the informant’s significant other, who was 2 years old at the time, federal court records show.
“Porter used the term ‘babysit’ to refer to the time he spent with children during which he sexually abused them or took sexually explicit images of them,” the warrant explained.
On March 9, the informant messaged Porter about a 7-year-old girl, telling him the girl’s mother was “strung out on h bad,” court records show, referring to heroin.
She then sent pictures of the girl to Porter, stating the mother of the child was offering her up to $100 the first night and $50 a day afterward, the warrant states.
“Might swing 80,” Porter texted back.
Porter told the informant he believed he was under investigation and that he “hope u (sic) ain’t workin with the police or law,” according to a transcript of the conversation.
“I swear I would have no reason to do that you’ve never done anything to me. I’m just looking out for her ur not a bad guy dean, I know u love kids u wouldn’t hurt her that’s y I thought of u i’m not setting u up,” she replied.
It turns out it was a set-up.
On March 10, Porter pulled into the McDonald’s in Oak Hill and spoke to the informant, court records show. When law enforcement swooped in and took him into custody, Porter claimed he only came up to make sure the child wasn’t hungry and give her some money for food, the arrest warrant states.
The following day, Porter signed off a form for the FBI, Jackson and Scioto police to search his home.
On March 13, authorities located a mess of computer and hard drives inside the home, which was pungent with marijuana — however, authorities could only turn up a small amount of pot, the warrant states.
In the days following the arrest, law enforcement received information from informants and victims about a trap door inside the home, where Porter kept his drugs, according to court records.
They also caught wind of reports of his daughters, 32-year-old Denna Porter and 39-year-old Crystal Porter, and two buddies, 68-year-old Frank E. Andrews and 62-year-old David Cole, were spotted at Porter’s home digging holes in the yard and grabbing stuff out of the yard the day prior to the search, court records show.
Cole gave a Denna Porter a coffee can from the yard that contained various hard drives — authorities said Denna Porter looked at it and could not find any child pornography on it.
Facebook messenger logs between Denna and Crystal show the two discussed searching the contents of the can on March 17, the warrant states.
However, when Denna later turned over the drives to the feds, agents were able to find child pornography deleted in 2018 on the drives, records show.
On March 20, federal authorities conducted another search of the home, digging in the area where the Porter sisters had dug allegedly searching for a jar full of money, records show. The feds didn’t find money — they found a glass jar with a SD card inside.
That SD card showed a woman sexually abusing a 7- or 8-year-old inside Dean Porter’s bedroom, according to court records.
That woman was hauled in the next day on state court charges, where she admitted to exchanging a child for drugs. Two other women were implicated in the same business — each had conducted these nefarious transactions for years, court records show.
On March 24, federal authorities knocked on Andrews’ door with a search warrant. Andrews was seen by two witnesses picking up a mother and two children in a blue and gray Camaro for years and taking them up to Porter’s home, court records show.
Andrews told authorities he knew Porter was raping children, but he didn’t take part in it, records show.
However, authorities wound up finding seven disks with child pornography — including one showing a preteen female in bondage — inside his home, according to authorities. Court records do not state those videos were made at Porter’s house.
Andrews also agreed to meet with Mike Mearan, who was then Porter’s attorney.
Mearan’s law office was raided March 25 in Portsmouth as a part of an investigation into an alleged human trafficking ring involving powerful men and drug-addicted prostitutes in the city. No charges have been made in his case.
Dean Porter has a federal public defender, according to the federal court docket.
Authorities also searched Cole’s and Porter’s daughters’ respective homes as well, the warrant stated. All denied any knowledge of Dean Porter’s illegal sexual desires, however text messages and jail phone calls proved otherwise, according to court records.
Cole later confessed to authorities, telling them he had sex with the drug-addled mothers, but never the kids, according to the warrants.
On April 7, another search was performed at the Dean Porter’s home. Authorities found electronic devices at the home that weren’t there during the prior searches — a dusting for fingerprints revealed multiple people had handled the devices, court records show.
The Cologne and The Letter
It didn’t take too long before Dean Porter figured out one of the witnesses who named him, court records show. Sitting in the Jackson County jail, Porter called his cousin, 69-year-old Erroll Wayne Porter, multiple times about the witness, according to the warrant.
Dean told Wayne to see if he could get the witness locked up on a gun charge, according to the warrant. Wayne told his cousin he rode by the witnesses’ house and “gave him a good hard scour look,” court records show.
During another phone call, Dean Porter told Wayne to “keep working on getting that asshole in jail,” records show. Wayne told his cousin it would take some time, the records show. At another point, Dean floated the idea of killing the witness if he started anything his daughters, records show.
“I thought you might like to go out and make sure that idiot don’t do something. If you have to, put a (expletive) slug in the son-of-a-bitch,” Dean Porter said.
Wayne Porter may have even attacked the witness, the warrant stated. During a call between the witness and Dean Porter, the witness told Wayne he was concerned someone was coming after him and his family. He said in April someone attacked him from behind, stomping on his back, court records show.
However, the witness said he didn’t see his attacker — he smelled him, records show.
“Wayne has worn the same cheap (expletive) cologne or aftershave since the day I met him up at that trailer … and that’s the same (expletive) cheap smelling cologne that I smelled that,” the court records show.
Arrest warrants also state Dean Porter sent letters from jail to his daughter, Denna, asking her to bleach the beds at his home to destroy any potential DNA evidence, also being led to believe the feds had taken his sheets for testing.
Denna declined to do that because she didn’t want to put the custody of her kids in jeopardy, records show.
He also sent her another letter to Denna asking her to offer another informant $500 to get Jackson County authorities to drop Oak Hill case, according to court records.
The Red Roof Inn
On March 23, authorities identified another victim, who reported Porter began sexually abusing her when she was 7 years old, with the abuse ending around the time she was 11 or 12, according to authorities.
Charity and Ronnie Rawlins, a married couple, were identified as the ones who traded her for drugs, court records stated. The victim told investigators the abuse ended when she no longer associated with the Rawlins, records show.
However, Facebook messages between Porter and Charity Rawlins showed the victim may have been pimped out to Porter as late as November 2019, court records show.
Following a forensic interview in March, the feds kept tabs on the victim. One of the confidential informants — herself a victim of child sexual abuse and claimed to have been raped by Porter when she was 18 or 19 — also kept in contact with the teenage girl in order to provide her support, court records show.
On June 9, the feds learned the victim had been with the Rawlinses at the Red Roof Inn in Wheelersburg, a “hotel known to law enforcement to be a location where drug trafficking frequently occurs,” federal court records show. The child was removed from the hotel, but she showed up early on June 10, record show.
When federal agents showed back up to retrieve her, the hotel manager told them the Rawlinses had checked out around 3 a.m., the warrant states. The manager also noted numerous men had been coming and going from the room, leading agents to believe the victim was being trafficked once again, records show.
Throughout the day on June 10, the informant continued to text the victim.
Through various street sources, law enforcement tracked down the Rawlinses’ car at a spot in Scioto County — when agents began tailing the car, the Rawlinses sped off, court records show.
Scioto County deputies tried to make contact with them again in South Webster, but they again fled into the night, according to court documents.
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Break down of the charges for the alleged pedophilia-pill ring in Wheelersburg:
• Larry Dean Porter, 69, of Wheelersburg, was charged with conspiring to sex traffic children, attempting to sex traffic children, producing child pornography, possessing child pornography, conspiring to obstruct a child sex trafficking investigation and conspiring to witness tamper. Porter was indicted in March in Jackson County, Ohio, on charges of attempted rape and human trafficking, but those were dropped on May 26 in light of the federal prosecution.
If convicted, Porter could face up to life in prison.
• Crystal Porter, 39, of Columbus, was charged with conspiring to obstruct a child sex trafficking investigation, destroying or removing evidence and making false statements to law enforcement. If convicted, Crystal Porter could face up to 38 years in prison.
• Denna Porter, 32, of Wheelersburg, is charged with conspiring to obstruct a child sex trafficking investigation, destroying or removing evidence and making false statements to law enforcement.If convicted, Denna Porter could face up to 38 years in prison.
• Frank Andrews, 68, of Wheelersburg, is charged with conspiring to sex traffic children, possessing child pornography involving a prepubescent child, conspiring to obstruct a child sex trafficking investigation and destroying or removing evidence. If convicted, Andrews could face up to life in prison.
• Wayne Porter, 69, of Wheelersburg, is charged with conspiring to obstruct a child sex trafficking investigation and conspiring to tamper witnesses. If convicted, Porter could face up to 45 years in prison.
• Joshua David Aldridge, 36, of South Webster, Ohio, is charged with conspiring to sex traffic children and sex trafficking children. Aldridge is also facing an aggravated possession of drugs charge in Scioto County. If convicted, Aldridge could face up to life in prison.
• David Cole, 62, of Portsmouth, is charged with conspiring to sex traffic children, conspiring to obstruct a child sex trafficking investigation and destroying or removing evidence. If convicted, Cole could face up to life in prison.
• Charity Ann Rawlins, 41, of South Webster, Ohio, and Ronnie L. Rawlins, 47, of Oak Hill, Ohio, are also charged with conspiring to sex traffic children and sex trafficking children. If convicted, the couple could face up to life in prison on the charges.
State Court Charges
• Magan Richmond, 32, of Wheelersburg, was charged in Scioto County with rape.
• Tasha Stringer, 37, of Wheelersburg, was charged in Scioto County with rape.
• Kathryn McMullen, 36, of South Webster, was charged in Scioto County with complicity to commit rape.