FBI agents have thwarted an alleged plan by an Ohio couple to sell a 15-year-old girl in exchange for a packet of cocaine.
Police say Pamela Tilley and Gregory Lowery drove 110km from their home to hand the girl over to a drugs dealer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was destined to become a child prostitute.
”This is the worst type of crime that can be perpetrated on a child, to turn the child into a sex slave,” said US attorney Mary Beth Buchanan. ”They were selling this child to an adult male in Pittsburgh in exchange for drugs.”
Tilley (45) and Lowery (44) were arrested after police officers found them asleep with the victim and a 13-year-old girl in a car in Pittsburgh’s North Side in the early hours.
They are due to appear in court on Monday morning, and both face up to 30 years in jail if convicted of transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Buchanan would not discuss the relationship between the adults and the children, but FBI special agent Donald Kirk Duran said both girls were runaways, the younger from a court-ordered juvenile placement centre in Ohio.
Agent Duran’s affidavit said that the adults had taken crack cocaine and alcohol and that Lowery had sex with both girls before the Pittsburgh trip. He had also filmed Tilley and the girl engaging in oral sex. It was Tilley’s idea to sell the older girl into prostitution, he said.
”We are trying to determine what happened in the vehicle, whether there were any attempts by the children to get away,” Buchanan said.
Tilley and Lowery, who has a long criminal history, are being held at Allegheny county jail, Pennsylvania. Both are unemployed and have court-appointed lawyers. The girls have been placed into foster care. – Guardian Unlimited Ã‚