ARMY SERGEANT PLEADS GUILTY TO SEX TRAFFICKING JUVENILES
Defendant Set Up Apartment and Craig’s List Ads for Juvenile Prostitutes
STERLING TERRANCE HOSPEDALES, 27, an Army Sergeant based at Fort Lewis, Washington, pleaded guilty this week in U.S. District Court to Sex Trafficking of a Child and Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Child. HOSPEDALES entered his guilty plea July 20, 2010, agreeing that the parties would advocate for a term of imprisonment of between ten to fifteen years in prison. At sentencing on October 25, 2010, U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle may impose the sentence he believes is appropriate from the mandatory minimum of ten years imprisonment up to the statutory maximum of life in prison.
The investigation began on April 13, 2009, when Lakewood Police were alerted to a juvenile runaway from the Seattle area who was posting ads on Craig’s List indicating she was engaged in prostitution. Investigators from the Innocence Lost Task Force, a federal task force targeting sex trafficking of children, followed up on the information, locating and interviewing the juvenile and a second juvenile. The first juvenile ultimately admitted that she worked as a prostitute out of an apartment HOSPEDALES had obtained for her, that HOSPEDALES had helped her post advertisements for prostitution with pictures of herself on Craig’s List, and that she provided the money she earned from prostituting to HOSPEDALES. The second juvenile had flown to the area from Wyoming with her plane ticket paid for by HOSPEDALES. The second girl stated that she had only been in town a week, and had taken pictures to post on Craig’s List for prostitution purposes, but had not started earning money for HOSPEDALES. HOSPEDALES was involved in recruiting the Wyoming girl and posting the advertisements on Craig’s List. According to the second juvenile, HOSPEDALES threatened to kick her out of the apartment and have other girls beat her up if she didn’t pay him back for the plane ticket by prostituting. HOSPEDALES was arrested as he left the Lakewood apartment he had rented for the juveniles.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, HOSPEDALES is required to register as a sex offender when released from prison. The U.S. Army is in the process of dishonorably discharging HOSPEDALES from the military.
The case was investigated by the FBI and Lakewood Police Department as part of the Innocence Lost Task Force. Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kate Crisham and Bruce Miyake.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.