Human Trafficking Unit arrest leads to rescue, guilty plea

Jan. 9—ATLANTA — Attorney General Chris Carr announced that Shane Bean, 39, of Lithonia, has pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage female for sex. This case, which was prosecuted by the Attorney General's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, involves a 17-year-old victim who was rescued during Operation Not Forgotten 2020.

"This case started with the rescue of an underage victim, and now one of the men who purchased her for sex will spend time in prison for his illegal actions," Carr said. "With our Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, we are working each day to protect our most vulnerable by pursuing both buyers and sellers alike. We are proud of this latest conviction, and we will continue fighting to ensure that all those who engaged in the trafficking of this young woman are held accountable for their actions."

Shane Bean was indicted in Fulton County in January 2022, along with nine other defendants who are alleged to have bought and sold the 17-year-old victim for sex. This indictment followed an extensive investigation that was conducted by the Attorney General's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and stemmed from Operation Not Forgotten 2020, during which time the victim in this case was rescued. The U.S. Marshals Service and the College Park Police Department assisted in the recovery.

The U.S. Marshals Service, the Clayton County Police Department and the Gwinnett County Police Department assisted in the apprehension of all 10 defendants who were indicted in January 2022. The state's case against the other nine defendants is still ongoing.

On Dec. 1, Bean pleaded guilty to pandering of a person under the age of 18. The Attorney General's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit recommended a sentence of 10 years to serve three years in custody. A Fulton County Superior Court Judge accepted the plea and set Bean's sentence at 10 years, with two years to be served in prison. The remainder of his sentence will be served on strict probation. Bean also is required to register as a sex offender.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Whitney Reeves of the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

Operation Not Forgotten 2020 resulted in the rescue of 26 children, the safe location of 13 children, and the arrest of nine criminal associates.

The U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit conducted the operation in partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and other state and local agencies. The Attorney General's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit was embedded throughout the entirety of the operation, which lasted two weeks.

In 2019, with the support of Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp and leaders in the Georgia General Assembly, Carr created the first-of-its-kind statewide Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

In 2021, the Attorney General's Human Trafficking Prosecution rescued and assisted 107 victims. In 2022, the unit indicted more than 20 alleged traffickers and obtained multiple convictions and lengthy prison sentences.

During the 2022 legislative session, Carr secured additional resources to expand the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and rescue even more victims.