DESPICABLE

Airmen Charged With Trafficking, Sexually Abusing 15-Year-Old Girl

The young runaway allegedly stayed at Dover Air Force Base over the course of five months.

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Two United States Air Force airmen allegedly harbored a teenage runaway at a Delaware Air Force base for months—and had sex with her, despite knowing she was underage.

Federal prosecutors have charged Dalían Washington, 25, and Akeem Beazer, 21, with sex abuse of a minor after learning of their alleged relationship with the girl, who was 15 years old at the time. According to court documents, the girl allegedly stayed with them on and off at the Dover Air Force Base for five months. In order to protect the victim’s identity, the US Attorney’s office cannot disclose her location, spokesperson Kim Reeves told The Daily Beast.

Washington has also been charged with sex trafficking of a child. Washington and Beazer’s attorneys did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Under the federal law, any child under the age of 18 who is involved in the commercial sex industry is automatically considered a victim of sex trafficking. A child cannot consent to sex with an adult,” Emily Pasnak-Lapchick, manager of UNICEF’s End Trafficking Project told The Daily Beast.

The investigation began in March after the girl told a social worker she stayed on the base and had sex with service members between August 2016 and January 2017 after running away from home, court records show. After running away, the girl met up with an older man she knew and told him she needed a place to stay. According to the report, Washington was dating a woman who had a child with the man; she would not have sex with him, but she said she could “get him someone.” Meanwhile, the man, who is not named in the report, allegedly told the teenage girl he could “hook her up” with an Air Force serviceman, but that she had to have sex with the airman.

Court documents say the older man then “sold” the girl to Washington for $20.

Washington confessed to paying for the girl. When investigators asked if the man he gave the money to was the girl’s pimp, Washington described the seller as being the person who was “trickin’ [her] off.”

Both Washington and Beazer kept the girl in their dorm rooms on the base at various times over the course of five months, prosecutors alleged.

“Dover Air Force Base leadership is aware that Federal prosecutors have charged two Dover airmen with sexual assault of an underage female. We are cooperating fully with local law enforcement agencies as they continue their investigation,” the Dover Public Affairs office said in a statement.

The Daily Beast asked officials at Dover Air Force Base if Washington and Beazer were roommates, and whether it was possible that anyone else knew the girl was staying with them but had not received a response to these queries by press time.

The girl initially told Washington she was 18 years old but later clarified—after the second time they had sex—that she was 15 and would turn 16 in October, he told investigators. Washington also said the girl would send him nude photos to “tease” him, and that he once sent her a photo in return. In August 2016, he said, he recorded a video of the girl performing oral sex on him. Investigators recovered 157 naked photos of the girl, as well as the video Washington mentioned, on Washington and Beazer’s cell phones and on other devices.

Washington would often bring the girl food from the dining hall, he told investigators. Beazer allegedly met the girl outside a Safeway one night after he received a Facebook message from her asking for help and another message from Washington, telling him he needed Beazer to pick up the girl. When he arrived, Beazer said, the girl was crying and told him she had run away from her father’s house.

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In 2016, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimated that 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to them were likely victims of sex trafficking. Runaways are especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation because of their mental, physical, and financial vulnerability, the organization found. In a report on the correlation between missing children and sex trafficking, the group cited studies that found that 70 to 90 percent of commercially sexually exploited youth have a history of child sexual abuse.

One detective involved in the case said that he knew the girl before the investigation began. He described her as a child from a troubled home who often ran away and lived on the street, according to court documents.

Offering young runaways food and shelter in exchange for sex is a common tactic, Pasnak-Lapchick said. “Traffickers prey on those vulnerabilities. They know these are things runaway children need, and that’s exactly what she was offered.”

Beazer recounted one instance where he found the girl naked in Washington’s bed. He told investigators that he gave the girl some clothing, took her to a bowling alley to eat, and then brought her back to his room on the base, where he was playing video games online with his brothers. When he turned around, he said, the girl was naked in his bed and “kept messing with him so that he would notice her.” Beazer’s brother allegedly told him to “not be a punk because there was a naked girl in his bed,” so he turned the game off and had sex with her.

He also admitted to having sex with the girl in Washington’s room, in a car on the side of the road, and at the girl’s father’s house. On New Year’s Eve, he said, he was having sex with the girl at her father’s house when he realized she was pregnant and left. Beazer said the girl confirmed she was pregnant after he asked.

Another time, at a motel in Newark, Delaware, the girl told Beazer she was working as a prostitute while they were having sex. Beazer told investigators the girl was wearing a wig and he noticed “a lot of makeup” in the room.

Beazer told investigators he knew the girl was underage; she allegedly told him the third time they met.

Both men were arrested on March 31 and are in custody pending further proceedings. If convicted, Beazer faces up to 15 years in prison. Washington faces a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 10 years, and up to 20 years in prison.