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Onondaga County Sheriff says Kavajecz was among eight people charged in prostitution sting

Onondaga County Sheriff Eugene Conway on Thursday discussed the prostitution sting that resulted in the arrest of eight men, including Kenneth Kavajecz, the former dean of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN file photo)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The former dean of the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University is among eight men facing charges following a prostitution sting.

Kenneth Kavajecz, 50, of West Jefferson Street in Syracuse, was charged with a 3rd degree misdemeanor count of patronizing a prostitute, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department confirmed in a Wednesday news release.

Kavajecz allegedly agreed to pay $80 to an undercover officer posing as a prostitute for sexual acts at a Salina hotel in early March, according to his arrest paperwork posted with a story on the website of Time Warner Cable News (now called Spectrum News).


Kavajecz was released on an appearance ticket and is scheduled for arraignment Sept. 29 in the Town of Salina Court, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

The seven others arrested have already been arraigned in the Town of Salina Court and released.

The Sheriff’s Department arrested Kavajecz on Sept. 13, while the additional accused men were arrested Sept. 19.

Onondaga County Sheriff Eugene Conway on Thursday gave the reason why Kavajecz was arrested first.

“It’s well known that there was one subject who was arrested ahead of all the other ones, and I’m here to tell you today that that was the result of the investigation being compromised,” Onondaga County Sheriff Eugene Conway said in a news conference about the prostitution sting on Thursday morning.

Conway wouldn’t offer specifics on what compromised the probe. He spoke at the department’s office at 407 State St. in Syracuse.

Sheriff’s detectives targeted complaints from the community regarding prostitution services and human trafficking during the “several month long investigation,” according to the department news release.

“[The length of time involved] is not unusual in an investigation of this nature,” said Conway.

The joint investigation, which also involved the New York State Police, “targeted the demand for these illegal services that lead to the supply of individuals for sex trade,” the sheriff’s department added.

 “We want people to know that this is a problem. We want people to know that if you’re thinking about going to a website or if you’re thinking about answering an ad in some way, shape, manner, [or] form that speaks with an illegal activity of prostitution, that it’s a crime and we want to discourage people, plain and simple, from engaging in this kind of activity,” said Conway.

The news conference also included comments from Erin Yeager, a specialist on sexually-exploited youth at McMahon-Ryan Child Advocacy Center in Syracuse, who said human trafficking is “something that we’re seeing in our community.”

“I’ve had 57 cases referred to me [this year] of youth that are at risk or have disclosed being trafficked or exploited in some way, shape or form,” said Yeager.

Syracuse University
Syracuse University released a statement on Sept. 14 indicating that Kavajecz was no longer dean of the Whitman School.

The school has placed Kavajecz on administrative leave from his faculty position “until further notice,” Michele Wheatly, Syracuse vice chancellor and provost, said in a short news release posted that day on the university’s website.

In reaction to the arrest, Kevin Quinn, senior VP for public affairs at Syracuse, released the following statement on Sept. 16.

“Given University policy, we are not able to discuss specifics of personnel matters. We have, however, confirmed with law enforcement that the alleged behavior did not occur on the Syracuse University campus, did not involve members of the campus community, and is unrelated to the former dean’s University responsibilities,” said Quinn.

In the Sept. 14 statement, Wheatly said that J. Michael Haynie, vice chancellor and a tenured faculty member in the Whitman School, will lead the school “during this time of transition.”

Haynie also serves as executive director of the school’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

Contact Reinhardt at


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