JSU president, gallery director busted in cyber prostitution sting

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HBCU president of prestigious Mississippi school and director of the institution’s art gallery involved in paying for prostitutes

In a two-day, multi-state sting, local authorities arrested 17 suspects involved in a cyber prostitution ring. The most notable of those apprehended was William Bynum, Jr. a married, 57-year-old father of six, and an HBCU president.

Since 2017, Bynum served as Jackson State University’s head. He was booked on charges of procuring services of a prostitute, false statement of identity, and simple possession of marijuana. Another JSU staff, Shonda McCarthy, 46, was also arrested for procuring services of a prostitute and possession of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle. Both were picked up at a chain hotel in Clinton, Mississippi, a town about 11 miles southeast of Jackson.

Clinton Police Chief Ford Hayman said Bynum, along with others responded to an online advertisement. “They called and set this up and with our undercover officers,” detailed Hayman.

On Tuesday, Mississippi state trustees named Thomas Hudson as interim Jackson State University president following Bynum’s resignation.

Another type of higher learning

Bynum is not the only president linked to a prostitution ring. In 2011, F. Chris Garcia, 71, the former president of the University of New Mexico was arrested for co-managing an online operation hiring out sex workers. Using the digital handle, “Burque Pops,” Garcia, who authored 11 books including, Hispanics and the US Political System and Moving into the Mainstream, took part in “hunt clubs” that sought out clients and prostitutes.

In another case, Kenneth A. Kavajecz, 51, was booked for soliciting a prostitute in a New York prostitution sting. At the time, Kavajecz was dean of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

Other top universities have been the center of more sex scandals. Last month, former professor and chair of the engineering department at Drexel University, Chikaodinaka Nwankpa, 57, used a $185,000 grant on strip clubs, iTunes and meals. Of that money, $96,000 went to Cheerleaders, Club Risque and Tacony Club, all adult entertainment venues. 

Reported by the Philly Voice, after an audit caught a large amount of Nwankpa’s expenses having no receipts, and most charges taking place on the weekends or between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m., Nwankpa attempted to write it off as catering and meals. He was arraigned at the end of January, and paid over $50,000 in restitution.

As well, according to Newsone, Alpha Kappa Alpha member and advisor, Alecia Jeanetta Johnson, 50 was charged with overseeing a prostitution ring where she arranged for AKA pledgees to sleep with men in exchange for cash as a way for them to pay for sorority dues. She also participated in providing sexual favors for money. 

At the time of her arrest, Johnson, worked as an assistant to the president of Fort Valley State, an HBCU in southern Georgia. Along with Johnson, six more were arrested in the FVSU prostitution ring including Charles Jones, 57 who was the president’s chief legal counsel.

Bynum posted a $3,000 bail, while McCarthy posted a $2,000. Both await trial.

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