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Ohio lawyer indicted in human trafficking case dies

Michael Mearan, 75, faced multiple charges, including human trafficking. The charges stemmed from criminal activity that allegedly occurred from 2003 and 2018.
Credit: Scioto County Jail
A booking photo for Michael Mearan.

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — A Portsmouth lawyer facing numerous charges related to human trafficking that authorities say occurred over a 15-year period has died, according to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

Yost announced on social media Friday that 75-year-old Michael Mearan has died, but the cause of death was not listed.

Mearan faced nine counts of promoting prostitution, five counts of compelling prostitution, three counts of human trafficking and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The charges stemmed from criminal activity that allegedly occurred from 2003 and 2018 and involved six female victims.

Mearan was arrested in October 2020. He pled not guilty to all charges and had posted $300,000 bail a few days after his arrest.

Mearan would have faced more than 70 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

“At least he died publicly charged for his crimes, and his victims knew the dignity of being heard and believed. They have survived him,” the attorney general tweeted Friday.

Mearan operated a law firm in Portsmouth, located in Scioto County, and formerly served on its city council.

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