HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — An associate pastor at the Woodlands First Baptist Church resigned Friday after being arrested during a prostitution sting.
Eddie Hilburn was arrested on July 19 and charged with prostitution. The church confirmed to NewsFix Hilburn’s resignation and his profile was removed from the church’s website.
Wilburn was nabbed along with more than 250 more sex buyers in the National Johns Suppression Initiative, an operation which ran from June 28 through July 31 and included 37 law enforcement agencies in 17 states.
Working in coordination with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, HCSO deputies arrested 161 sex buyers, while HPD officers arrested 88 sex buyers and 9 sex traffickers.
The annual operation is coordinated by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois, and it is intended to draw attention to the exploitive nature of the sex trafficking industry and reduce the demand for purchased sex.
“Our aim is for Harris County and Houston to shed the dubious distinction as America’s sex trafficking capital.” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. “By focusing our efforts on sex buyers who are seeking to take advantage of sex trafficking victims, we are putting these predators on notice that our community won’t tolerate their behavior.”
Solicitation of prostitution is a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Hilburn’s bail was set at $500.
“I want to commend the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Vice Unit for their tireless work to make our community safer for our most vulnerable residents,” Gonzalez said. “We will continue to vigorously pursue sex buyers so that they never feel comfortable paying for sex in Harris County.”