MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - A Trenton dad who is accused of having his 18-month-old daughter with him while he was arrested in a prostitution bust was in court Wednesday.
Michael Ratliff, 38, is charged with one count of solicitation and one count of child endangering. Police say he was offered $20 for oral sex from an undercover Middletown Police Officer, all while his 18-month-old daughter was with him in the car.
Ratliff was arraigned in Middletown Municipal Court Wednesday. His case was continued and he was appointed a court attorney. He is currently out of jail on bond.
Ratliff spoke to FOX19's Tiffany Teasley following the hearing, say through tears that he is "ashamed and embarrassed" for what happened, and that he loves his daughter.
"I'm sorry and I apologize to the community or whoever thinks I'm the type of person like that, that's all I do is be a good dad and be with my baby all day every day," Ratliff said.
Ratliff claims he is innocent and was approaching the undercover officer to ask for a cigarette, not sex.
"I was standing there and I was listening to her when she started talking about prostitution, then after she started talking about that I said, 'Is you going to give me the cigarette,' and that's when she told me to come by the alley, and that's when she gave me the cigarette, and that's when the police jumped out on me,"Ratliff said.
Ratilff claims he didn't offer any money to the undercover officer -- He's just one of nearly 30 people arrested in recent months in prostitution stings by the Middletown Police Department.
John Mann was also busted Tuesday for soliciting, Ratliff says he drove from his home in Trenton to Middletown that day to simply get food from him and his daughter, he now regrets that decision.
"I shouldn't have been in that area and my baby was with me and I know I wouldn't definitely do anything with my child," Ratliff said.
The child is in the care of her mother.