Lakeland City attorney among 8 arrested in undercover sex sting bust

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – The Lakeland City Attorney is among eight people arrested at a Brandon area hotel.

27 years as an employee at Lakeland city hall, almost 18 years as City Attorney, 69-year-old Timothy McCausland may have to some explaining to his bosses.

He’s one of eight rounded up at a hotel in Hillsborough County in an attempt to combat human trafficking.

“Just wow.  It’s unbelievable” said Susan Hyder.

Told of the arrest, people in Lakeland were shocked. “I cannot believe that that happened. I mean he has been a pillar of this community and his reputation is impeccable” said Fielding Dickey.

“For the most part they should be aware of their own actions and ya know, especially a City Attorney. Come on now” said Tom Hyder.

Undercover Hillsborough deputies posted a fake ad on an adult escort site. They say, when McCausland and the others showed up for sex, they instead found a deputy.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement:

“Operations like this help us to not only seek out possible victims of human trafficking, but also find and take criminals off the streets who are hiding in plain sight,”

Mccausland, who makes almost $223,000 per year at the city, lives in an upscale Bartow neighborhood.

“No, I can’t talk right now. I’m sorry,” said a woman who came to the front door.

McCausland is charged with public solicitation.

A spokesman for the City of Lakeland said city leaders say they will decide his fate at a later date.

The people arrested and their charges include:

  1. Leslie Benitez, 24: Offering to Commit Prostitution (2nd offense)
  2. Lawrence Jones, 34: Soliciting Another to Commit Prostitution
  3. Xiaoru Kem, 55: Unlicensed Massage Practice
  4. Timothy McCausland, 69: Hillsborough County Ordinance Violation-36-340: Public Solicitation Event
  5. Stacy Gonzalez, 38: Offering to Commit Prostitution (Third or subsequent), Warrant: FTA Offering to Commit Prostitution
  6. Stacia Wilson, 38: Offering to Commit Prostitution, Possession of a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Warrant: VOP Grand Theft Motor Vehicle and Burglary of an Unoccupied Dwelling
  7. Ashraf Zakher, 48: Soliciting Another to Commit Prostitution
  8. Mathew Mamman, 46: Soliciting Another to Commit Prostitution

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