Student Pastor Among 9 Facing Prostitution Charges
It's the largest prostitution bust in Benton County history. Back in May, Bentonville police made several arrests, at the time, targeting those promoting the actual prostitution ring.
But this time, they're targeting clients and police took 9 more into custody on Wednesday. An undercover operation led to those arrests with many of the men being from out of town.
According to Bentonville Police Chief James Allen, investigators didn't know how big the problem was until they began receiving phone calls from hotel management. From there, police teamed-up with the different hotels which led to these arrests over the course of months. Allen also said his department won't stop until it's over.
"We're going to do everything within our power to make sure that we aggressively attack the problem at every level -- the pimps, the prostitutes, the johns, so to speak that are using the services," said Allen, adding, "We want to make sure that all of them realize that any or all of them could be arrested."
Of the nine people arrested this week, one in particular sent a shock wave throughout the Northwest Arkansas community. A shock not only to residents but to the man's employer as well. 37-year old Joshua Wisdom was the student pastor at The Church at Pinnacle Hills before he was arrested Wednesday for soliciting sex.
On Thursday, Wisdom, who's married with children, was asked for his resignation effective immediately and although church staff declined to be interviewed they did release this statement.
"We are deeply saddened and grieved by a report we received today, August 12, 2010 and we are praying for our Springdale and Pinnacle Hills family. We have requested and received the resignation of Josh Wisdom, effective immediately. He is no longer a member of our staff team. We are shocked at this news; however, we are looking to the Lord who provides us strength in the midst of a crisis. We are ministering to the Wisdom family and request that you pray for them."
Andy Wilson, Executive Leader of the Ministry and Operations
First Baptist Church of Springdale and The Church at Pinnacle Hills, AR
Senior Pastor Ronnie Floyd was in Dallas earlier Thursday for a speaking engagement; however, he cut that short and came home to deal with the crisis. He's expected to address the church congregation this Sunday.
Nine people are facing prostitution charges in Benton County along with Wisdom.
Bentonville Police arrested the following people for sexual solicitation this week:
Madison Blaxton of Joplin, MO
Keith Worsham of Van Buren
Jimmy Lewis of Siloam Springs
Keith Maestri of Tontitown
Joshua Wisdom of Rogers
Brandon McClees of Gentry
Brad Galloway of Winchester, KY
Jared Vannoy of Bella Vista
Kevin Constantine of Cheney, WA