Elyria city councilor pleads not guilty after being arrested in statewide prostitution attack

ELYRIA, Ohio – Elyria City Councilor Mark Jessie pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a solicitation charge stemming from his arrest in a statewide prostitution attack.

Jessie, 64, appeared in person in the courtroom of Elyria Municipal Court Judge Robert White. He faces a solicitation charge, a third-degree misdemeanor, and could be sentenced to up to 60 days in prison if convicted.

Jessie was released after posting a $ 250 bond. His next court date has not been set because a visiting judge is to be appointed to oversee his case, White said.

Jessie and her lawyer, John Haynes, left the courthouse before cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer could ask for comment.

Jessie was arrested Thursday in an attack called “Operation Ohio Knows”. The operation ran from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1 and led to more than 160 arrests across Ohio, prosecutors said.

Undercover detectives contacted Jessie online and set up a 30-minute meeting with him. Jessie agreed to pay $ 60 for sex during the meeting, according to a police report from Elyria.

Jessie was arrested when he showed up for the meeting at an address on Washington Avenue near Harrison Street in Elyria, according to the report.

Jessie, a Democrat, represented Ward 3 of Elyria for eight years. He will face the Republican candidate Maurice Corbin III in the general elections on November 2.

The office of Elyria Mayor Frank Whitfield declined to comment on the case. Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer have reached out to Elyria city council members to ask if Jessie will continue to serve on council as her case progresses.

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