Category Archives: Law Enforcement

Sex Trafficking: 313,000 Victims In Texas

.jpg photo of symbol of justice for all victims of human trafficking
PLEASE, help stop Human Trafficking now.

North Texas hotels ignore sex trafficking,
exploitation of children, lawsuit says

Three national hotel chains are accused of being complicit in sex trafficking at hotels across the country including various ones in North Texas, according to a federal lawsuit filed in Dallas this week.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a woman identified as F.M. who says she was sexually exploited at North Texas hotels beginning when she was 4 years old.  The woman is now in her 20s and lives in Tarrant County.

The lawsuit, filed by Houston-based Lanier Law Firm on Monday, includes Best Western, Hyatt and Red Lion hotels, and says that the companies ignored criminal activity occurring on their property and failed to protect victims of sex trafficking from exploitation.

“The hotel industry plays a crucial role in the sex trade,” said Lanier Law Firm founder Mark Lanier in a statement released Wednesday.  “For too long, the industry has profited by looking the other way when sex trafficking has been happening right in front of them.  We’re filing this lawsuit to get some justice for victims and to let these businesses know that their lack of action is unacceptable.”

In a statement Wednesday, BWH Hotel Group said, “Best Western International, Inc. condemns human trafficking.  It is a despicable crime and the criminals who intentionally inflict this suffering on their victims should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  Best Western supports the industry’s efforts to raise awareness and fight against this inhumane and horrific crime.

“While Best Western branded hotels are independently owned and operated, we require that each member hotel complies with all laws and treats all hotel guests consistent with our core values of integrity, honesty, and respect for others’ dignity,” the statement continued.  “We provide information and training resources to member hotels on this serious issue such that hotels can educate their staff about how to recognize and report instances of trafficking.”

Officials at Red Lion and Hyatt could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Best Western has more than 4,700 hotels in nearly 100 countries around the world, according to its website. As of September, Hyatt had more than 875 properties in 60 countriesRed Lion has over 1,300 properties.

The suit specifically names Best Western Plus DFW Airport Suites, Hyatt House Dallas/Frisco, Best Western Irving Inn & Suites at DFW Airport, and the America’s Best Value Inn Irving/Dallas.

Sex trafficking generates an estimated $99 billion each year, making it the second-largest illicit crime industry behind the sale of illegal drugs, according to the lawsuit. More than 60 percent of sex trafficking offenses occur in hotels, while eight out of 10 arrests for human trafficking occur in or around hotels, the lawsuit says.

VICTIM SAYS SHE WAS DRUGGED AND ASSAULTED FOR YEARS

In the lawsuit, F.M. gave this account of being exploited:

Her father, to sustain his drug addiction, sold her to traffickers in Irving for sex when she was 4.

She was given unidentified pills by her trafficker on average to five to 10 times each day, according to the lawsuit.  Her traffickers would tie her and other children up and place them blindfolded in the back of a van.

When they arrived at a hotel, a hotel bellmen would be there to meet them and send them to assigned hotel rooms where buyers would be waiting for them, the lawsuit stated.

F.M. was bound, blindfolded and sent to rooms where “johns” were awaiting her and other children.  She was then tied to a bed and sexually assaulted, according to the lawsuit.

From age 4 to 18, F.M. was trafficked to buyers for sex and abuse at the Best Western Plus DFW Airport Suites, the Best Western Irving Inn & Suites at DFW Airport in Irving and the Hyatt House Dallas/Frisco in Frisco, she said in the suit.

By the age of 20, F.M. was in the possession of her third trafficker and being trafficked at America’s Best Value Inn Irving/Dallas in Irving, the suit says.

She was advertised on Craigslist.com

At the age of 20, F.M. was hospitalized and could not work.  Her trafficker punished her 2-year-old son by raping the child while F.M. watched, according to the lawsuit.

Her trafficker controlled her by making her dependent on methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.

WARNING SIGNS

A number of nationwide campaigns recognized trafficking in the hotel industry and several hotel companies took initiative to combat the problem, but the lawsuit says Best Western, Hyatt and Red Lion have repeatedly failed to thwart sexual exploitation at their hotels.

The lawsuit listed some indicators of sex trafficking at a hotel.  They include:

  • An excess of condoms in rooms.
  • Individuals carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Renting two rooms next door to each other.
  • Declining room service for several hours.
  • Men traveling with multiple women who appear unrelated.
  • Guests checking in with little or no luggage.
  • Women known to be staying in rooms without leaving.
  • Hotel guests who prevent another individual from speaking for themselves.

The lawsuit listed more than 20 incidents of arrests and rescues of people and children in sex trafficking or exploitation cases at hotels operated by Red Lion, Hyatt and Best Western.

PA Mother Now Faces Felony Charges

.jpg photo of father of newborn that was abused so badly
Jamie Edward Easley, 40, Shaler Township, PA.

‘One Of The Most Violent Cases Of
Child Abuse’

SHALER TOWNSHIP, PA  –  A Shaler Township mother is facing felony charges for allegedly abusing her child in “one of the most violent cases” Children’s Hospital doctors have seen.

Katie Easley is now facing charges alongside father Jamie Easley for the alleged abuse of their newborn daughter, who was admitted to UPMC Children’s Hospital with severe injuries in September.

According to police, the 4-week-old girl was taken to Children’s Hospital after her primary care doctor found multiple bruises on her face and abdomen.

The child’s mother allegedly told the doctor the little girl had not eaten in nearly two days.

At the hospital, doctors found the girl had skull fractures, subdural hemorrhages, 19 rib fractures and other fractures to her left arm and her legs.  She was admitted in critical condition to the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

According to the criminal complaint, Jamie told investigators during a police interview that the baby’s older sibling pulled her off a bed. However, doctors said a fall from a bed would not cause the kind of injuries she had.

Police say Jamie later told them he grabbed the baby girl by the arm while she was crying, held her up, squeezed her and gave her “a quick shake.”   Soon after, the baby stopped crying.

Now, police are charging Katie with a felony endangering the welfare of children. The criminal complaint accuses Katie of not taking her critically injured baby to the hospital until the 31-day-old newborn stopped eating all together.

It also says detectives later searched Katie’s phone history and allegedly found Google searches from earlier in the month including “bruising on baby” and “why isn’t my baby eating?”

Police say Children’s Hospital doctors said “given the age of the victim, it was one of the most violent cases of child abuse they have seen, bone in arm completely snapped in half, and the worst rib fractures they have seen.”

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller reports charges against Jamie still stand.  Katie was released on non-monetary bond and is slated to go before the judge for her preliminary hearing on Dec. 19.

Children Are In Danger On-Line

Cyber Safety

The proliferation of child predators using the Internet to target young victims has become a national crisis.  A study shows one in seven children will be solicited for sex online in the next year.

The Texas Attorney General is urging all parents and teachers to realize the risks our children face online, and take steps to help ensure their children’s safety.

Internet Chase Video

So why are some teens so trusting of people they meet online?  For many students there is a sense that what happens online can’t hurt them.  Unfortunately, we are finding that many teens are posting personal information in chat rooms and on social networking sites making them easy prey for child predators.

In this video, provided from the I-Safe curriculum, you can see what happens when one student finds out the hard way that you can’t trust what people tell you online. Click the image to watch the video.

If for any reason you fear any one, or have any doubts about your safety, contact Law Enforcement immediately.

Texas Attorney General’s office 1 (800) 252-8011

The CyberTipline
https://report.cybertip.org/
1-800-843-5678

Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website
http://www.nsopw.gov

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®
http://www.missingkids.com

Connecticut Man Charged With Abusing Toddler

.jpg photo of man arrested for abusing toddler
Joseph Mullikin, 37, of Ashford, Connecticut.

Ashford man in custody following
Child Abuse investigation

DANIELSON, CT  –  A man is facing several charges after an investigation into his suspected abuse of a seven-month-old female child.

The investigation led to the arrest of 37-year-old Joseph Mullikin, of Ashford on a warrant Tuesday.

State Police say the child was being treated at Connecticut Children’s back in September, when physicians reported to DCF that the child had suspicious injuries they believed were indicative of abuse or neglect.

According to a release, the seven-month-old has bruises on both sides of her face, eyes and eyelids.  The bruising also extended to her ears.

After a lengthy investigation, State Police were granted a warrant charging Mullikin with 1st degree Assault, 2nd degree Strangulation/Suffication and Risk of Injury.

Mullikin was held on $200,000 bond and is due in Danielson court Wednesday.

UPDATE – TN Teacher Charged With Child Abuse

.jpg photo of TN teacher accused of child abuse of a special needs child
April Chandler, 45

UPDATE – Special Ed teacher arrested, charged with CA

HENDERSONVILLE, TN  –  A George A. Whitten Elementary School special education teacher was arrested and charged with child abuse.

According to Sumner County School officials, 45-year-old April Chandler was suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

The arrest affidavit said an aide at the school told police Chandler forcefully and angrily grabbed a 5-year-old nonverbal autistic boy, causing him to have scratches and red marks.

The witness detailed another incident when Chandler was reading a story to the students as the young boy tried to sit in her lap.  The affidavit says Chandler pushed the boy off of her and he fell down.

A second aide told officers Chandler was roughly changing the boy’s clothes.  When the boy began to cry, she mocked the boy’s appearance.

After officers spoke with the school employees, Chandler was arrested on November 18.  She has since been released on bond.

Chandler is expected to appear in court on December 11.