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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Chicago Man Charged with the Sex Trafficking of a 16-Year-Old Girl Who Was Allegedly Murdered by a Customer

CHICAGO — A Chicago man was arrested today on a federal sex trafficking charge for allegedly arranging a commercial sex encounter for a 16-year-old girl that ended in the child’s murder in a south suburban garage on Christmas Eve.

JOSEPH HAZLEY, 33, posted the girl’s information in commercial sex advertisements on Backpage.com, and arranged multiple meetings in December 2016 for her to engage in prostitution, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Hazley drove the girl to several meetings in the Chicago area, including an encounter in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve in a garage in south suburban Markham, the complaint states. During this encounter, the customer allegedly murdered the girl.

Hazley was arrested this morning at his home in Chicago. The complaint charges him with one count of sex trafficking. The charge is punishable by a minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

Hazley made an initial court appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin in Chicago. Judge Martin ordered Hazley to remain in federal custody until a detention hearing on June 23, 2017, at 10:30 a.m.

The complaint was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart; and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson. Substantial assistance was provided by the Markham Police Department and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher V. Parente.

According to the complaint, the customer responded to Hazley’s Backpage.com posting to arrange the Christmas Eve meeting with the minor. Hazley drove the girl to Markham and waited in his car a few yards from the garage while she met with the customer, the complaint states. During the encounter in the garage, the customer allegedly murdered the girl, the complaint states.

The customer was subsequently arrested by the Chicago Police Department and charged with murder in Cook County Criminal Court.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Updated June 21, 2017