Rick McGinnis, a Human dedicated to saving exploited Children!!!
(Dave note: The news has been busy lately, (and finally), highlighting the efforts of Law Enforcement/US Marshall’s/Prosecutors/Child Advocates who are combining their resources to rescue missing and exploited children locally and throughout the United States. The number of children that vanish and go missing each year is staggering, estimated to be between 500-800,000! The children who are found, rescued and brought home annually is in the mere hundreds. Those fortunate enough to be recovered are usually found to have been targeted and trafficked as sexual “property”. The average age of a trafficking victim is 12 years old, 75% female, 25 % male. Those children that don’t get forced into prostitution are used to create horrific child pornography, which just in the United States is a multi-billion-dollar industry! (The state of Ohio ranks sixth this year in the number of missing children and cases of child trafficking!)
I would like to share with you the Humans of Findlay story of Rick McGinnis, a native Ohioan who served as an Ada police officer, an Undercover Investigator with the Cuyahoga Prosecutors Office’s “Child Exploitation Division/Cold Case Homicide Unit/Human Trafficking Unit, and as a sworn U.S. Marshal. He worked on taskforces with the FBI, Secret Service and US Marshall’s before retiring here in Findlay. Since his retirement in 2014 Rick has channeled his years of investigating experience into the private sector opening Chagrin Solutions, LLC, providing Investigation and security services. Even though he is retired, Rick is often called upon to assist in ongoing children exploitation cases.
Rick was born in Hardin County, graduating as Kenton high school Wildcat in 1977. He entered the workforce immediately, but his goal was always to become a member of the law enforcement world. In 1991 Rick graduated from the Sheriff’s Academy in Bellefontaine and joined the Logan County Sheriff’s Office as an auxiliary Deputy. He served full-time first with the Kenton Police Department. After a year he was hired full-time by the Ada police department. Assigned as a street officer, Rick responded to all the typical police calls; domestic issues, auto accidents, drug and alcohol issues etc. One evening Rick was watching “Dateline” as they presented an in-depth report on Child Exploitation. The graphic details drew Rick into wanting to know more and how he could become involved in fighting this epidemic and bringing the children back home.
He voluntarily went through an intensive training process on how to communicate as a 12-14-year old girl to the predators surfing both websites/chatrooms popular to young people looking for victims to deceive. (There is also what is known as the “dark web” where disgusting videos of children are shared for a price.) These perpetrators are skilled at chatting, identifying and luring lonely or vulnerable young people. Eventually they attempt to convince the children to participate in sexting, doing pornographic phone chats and finally arranging for the victim to meet with them for sex. The perpetrators almost always claim to be 14-18-year old males themselves while online.Rick had no idea the depravity of these online predators, until he started “chatting” with them, in the role of a young teenage girl.
Rick had been working at this for several years, often working 50-60 hours a week (half on the road and half on the computer, occasionally even on his own time at the police department, when one conversation with a perp hit his soul so hard he made a commitment to fight them full-time. In this conversation he was portraying himself as a 12-year-old girl, when after several conversations the perp shared a “graphic sexual video” with this “12 year old girl” “I had no idea of what 12 year old kids were being subjected to by these monsters.” The depravity of this event made Rick kick the computer, walk out to his patrol car and drive for hours. When the night was over Rick knew he wanted to pursue these monsters full-time.In a very short period of time Rick reached out to the Cuyahoga City Prosecutors Office in Cleveland, well-known for its dedicated team fighting Child Exploitation. After 15.5 years with the ADA police department Rick was hired to join the Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney’s office as an Investigator. The team included members of the US Marshall’s office, the FBI, the DOJ, and state and local law enforcement officials.
The team’s intense focus was seeking out the perps and con-men on the web, setting up “stings” where the perps believe they are meeting young females to have sex, and to track the web to find those producing and sharing child pornography on regular and “dark web” sites.For the next seven years Rick and the rest of the team immersed themselves into the darkness to help rescue the exploited children and arrest the perps. In 2014, after nearly 25 years of dedicating his time and efforts to this cause, Rick retired. His expertise, polished over the past decades, still makes him valuable as a consultant to state and national law enforcement groups. “The perps have gotten very skilled at how to approach and talk to kids in chat rooms, hiding their locations and it takes so much effort to track them down.” Rick admits he bears “scars from all he has seen and experienced over the years dealing with the graphic abuse of children.” (Dave note: There are no words to explain how those fighting this epidemic suffer themselves, as they are subjected to having to view all levels of child/teen/ adult abusive pornography as they pursue the predators. The eyes and soul are not meant to see such horrific scenes. God Bless them and help them find peace as well.)
Rick enjoys running his private investigative firm, Chagrin Solutions. The workload varies every day. On any given day his team is serving subpoenas, doing surveillance for insurance companies investigating fraud, or providing security for executives and events. Rick is supported in the office by his two “right -hand” women, Office Manager and head of business development Kali Price (L) along with assistant Denice Reed (R).
Rick enjoys the quiet of the home he shares with Rhonda, his dear wife of 25 plus years, and their two fur children. The couple have four grown children and 11 grandchildren. Rhonda and Rick call themselves “home-bodies” enjoying time together at home. They also like to spend time fishing, “hanging out” in Chagrin Falls where they once resided and visiting the NE Ohio wine making region.
Parting thoughts from Rick, “Parents! It is OKAY to restrict your children’s access to websites, chat rooms. They may be angry now, but the danger you are protecting them from will be realized by them later. It is OKAY to monitor and check the phones and computers while your child is online! Please, they need you to do this!”
Thank you, Rick, for working tirelessly all these years, along with other great individuals, to save our children….Dave