Top DOD Official Arrested in Human Trafficking Sting in Georgia

stephen hovanic

Defense Department Official Arrested in Human Trafficking Sting

In a story from Military.com, Stephen Hovanic, the Chief of Staff for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), has been arrested on charges related to human trafficking. The arrest occurred during a two-day sting operation in Coweta County, Georgia, led by the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office in collaboration with several law enforcement agencies.

Hovanic, 64, of Sharpsburg, Georgia, was among 26 individuals apprehended during the sting, which targeted activities including prostitution, drug possession, and pimping. Notably, Hovanic is accused of pandering, a misdemeanor in Georgia that involves compelling someone to engage in prostitution.

The operation also led to the rescue of six victims of human trafficking, according to Sgt. Toby Nix of the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office. These victims are currently receiving assistance in a secure location.

Hovanic’s arrest comes as a significant shock given his extensive career in public service. An honorably discharged veteran and a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Hovanic has been a part of the DoDEA since 1996. His career began in 1982 as a high school vocational teacher and administrator in Virginia public schools.

The DoDEA, an agency responsible for elementary and secondary education of children of military and Department of Defense civilian families, has removed Hovanic’s biography from its website. William Griffin, a spokesperson for the DoDEA, stated that Hovanic is currently on leave and declined to comment further due to ongoing legal processes.

The sting operation involved multiple agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the nonprofit Frontline Response Out of Darkness team, emphasizing the seriousness of the issue of human trafficking.

This incident adds to a series of controversies involving government officials. Recently, the Biden administration dismissed an immigration official following insensitive comments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a former Homeland Security employee faced charges unrelated to their official duties.

As the case progresses, the focus remains on the larger issue of human trafficking and the continuous efforts to combat this global problem.

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