Retired biomedical engineer bikes across country to battle Child Abuse
Headlines illustrate the Tri-State area’s struggle with child abuse and neglect:
“Hedgesville woman placed on probation in scalding death of her child.”
“Hagerstown man sentenced to 20 years in birthday cake beating death.”
Larry Heyn said he couldn’t stand along the sidelines and say nothing when children are abused.
The retired biomedical engineer is riding his bike across the country to bring attention to child abuse. Heyn estimated that he talks to about 15 people a day about the problem and refers them to his website at shieldthechildren.com to learn more.
The 67-year-old Minneapolis man departed Mission Bay in San Diego on April 7 and anticipates reaching Washington, D.C., this week. Heyn neared the Tri-State area biking on the Great Allegheny Passage, then getting on the C&O Canal.
Heyn left the Paw Paw, W.Va., area Monday morning and made his way through Hancock before reaching the Cushwa Basin in Williamsport Monday afternoon.
While Heyn rides, his wife Debi drives a used Winnebago that Heyn refers to as his “sag wagon”.
Debi takes care of the laundry, cooking and making reservations at campgrounds. Larry helps people understand all of the different types of child abuse, whether it’s forced labor or a mother abusing alcohol while she’s pregnant.
Heyn said its troubling the way children are treated, such as the frustrated mother who screams at her child in the grocery store and says she wishes the youngster were never born.
“A lot of this abuse that goes on doesn’t have to go on,” Heyn said.
Heyn and his wife were planning to stay at an area campground Monday night.
Veterans Group Discovers Possible
Underground Child Trafficking Camp
Members of a veteran’s advocacy group believe they have discovered a hidden child-trafficking camp in Arizona.
Last month, Veterans on Patrol, a group that helps homeless veterans, were searching for veterans in need near Interstate 19 in Tucson when they came across what looked like an underground bunker. According to KGUN-9, they also found a baby crib, stroller, hair dye, wrist restraints, crates, and pornographic material.
The group contacted local authorities who said while they are not ruling out the possibility that this site was used for human trafficking, they believe the bunker is most likely an abandoned homeless camp.
Veterans on Patrol shared what they discovered with former Navy SEAL Craig Sawyer, who founded Veterans for Child Rescue, a faith-based organization that fights human trafficking. He went to the site and shot footage of what he found.
“The underground bunker is a septic tank and it’s turned on its side and it’s buried partially underground,” Sawyer told CBN News. “It looked cruel and inhumane.. like a place where you would put children so people don’t hear them scream.”
In the bunker he found a chain, children’s clothing, and toy dolls among other things.
While he admits his suspicions of human trafficking could be wrong, he does not believe the site is an abandoned homeless camp like local police suggest.
“I can’t imagine seeing any homeless people putting their children in there willingly. It just does not seem like a hospitable shelter,” he explained.
Sawyer and his team also found a grove of trees nearby with “numerous straps to latch or bind” something or someone to them. If this is indeed a trafficking ring, he believes children could have been tied to the trees and assaulted.
Sawyer says the combination of what appears to be “rape trees” and an underground septic tank with children’s clothes in it leads him to believe children were being trafficked here.
While it’s too early to tell who could be behind the alleged trafficking camp, Sawyer says the location could give some clues.
“MS-13 or the Mexican drug cartel would be my first two guesses,” he explained. The site is located right next to Interstate 19, which runs all the way to Mexico.
Whatever the truth behind this site may be, Sawyer says he will continue to glorify Christ by fighting those who wish to do children harm.
“This is the frontline between good and evil,” he shared, adding that the Church needs to be on the forefront of the battle against human trafficking.
According to Tucson News Now, the local police department is now investigating the veterans group’s discovery.
“I do not appreciate the media filtering my search engine results, most particularly when it involves Children being Abused or Trafficked, so here are the names of the 7 defendants charged:”
“The seven defendants charged in the indictment are Michael Lacey, 69, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; James Larkin, 68, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; Scott Spear, 67, of Scottsdale, Arizona; John E. “Jed” Brunst, 66, of Phoenix, Arizona; Daniel Hyer, 49, of Dallas, Texas; Andrew Padilla, 45, of Plano, Texas and Jaala Joye Vaught, 37, of Addison, Texas.”
~ Robert StrongBow ~
“Website founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin are charged with facilitating prostitution and money laundering.”
April 9, 2018
PHOENIX, AZ – The founders of Backpage.com and five others at the classified site have been indicted on federal charges in what authorities say was a scheme to facilitate prostitution by running ads for sexual services and hiding their revenues.
An indictment unsealed Monday alleges that Backpage.com on some occasions had helped customers edit their ads so they would stay within legal limits while still encouraging commercial sex.
In one area, the indictment reads, “for several years, Backpage’s official policy, when presented with an ad featuring child prostitution, was to delete the particular words in the ad denoting the child’s age and then publish a revised version of the ad.”
It also says that Backpage claimed it does everything in its power to alert the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children whenever it becomes aware that a child is being advertised on the website.
But the indictment alleges that Backpage implemented policies to limit referrals to NCMEC.
The indictment says a top official emailed another saying, “If we don’t want to blow past 500 (referrals to NCMEC) this month, we shouldn’t be doing more than 16 a day.”
Other documents are referred to in the indictment saying a training document instructed website moderators not to send emergency alerts to NCMEC in response to complaints filed by the grandparents or other extended family being advertised on the website.
Website founders Michael Lacey and James Larkin are charged with facilitating prostitution and money laundering.
They are already facing state money laundering charges in California.
Larry Kazan, who represents Lacey, didn’t return a call seeking comment. There is no listing for Larkin’s attorney.
Seven defendants charged in the indictment include three people from North Texas, 49-year-old Daniel Hyer, of Dallas, 45-year-old Andrew Padilla, of Plano, and 37-year-old Jaala Joye Vaught, of Addison.
Authorities also have seized Backpage.com and its affiliated websites.
Julia Walsh, a sex trafficking survivor from the DFW area, says that she was sold for sex on Backpage for almost 3 years.
By age 19, she says men were paying as little as $40 for sexual encounters.
Walsh says she was trafficked from 2010 to 2014, and that her first trafficker was her boyfriend.
“They would post an ad about me, and we’d get over like 50 calls within an hour that’s just how many people are visiting the website,” Walsh said.
Walsh says she would have at least 200 sexual encounters with customers weekly.
“Probably about 210. Sometimes more and sometimes less. It depends what city we were in and what time of day it was,” Walsh said.
Now 26, Walsh says she was rescued during a police sting in 2014.
That was just two years before agents raided Backpage’s Dallas headquarters. On Monday, Attorney General Ken Paxton said that evidence was taken during the raid that was crucial to crafting the 93-count indictment.
At the time, CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested on pimping charges. He isn’t charged in the indictment, but throughout the documents, a person with knowledge about the company is constantly referenced and is only identified with the initials “C.F.”
Tonya Stafford, a sex trafficking survivor who helps rescue women and children sold for sex online, applauded the website’s demise.
Stafford was sold for drugs when she was 13. From 1988 to 1997 she was held against her will.
Through her program “It’s Going to Be Ok, Inc.” she helps find new homes for sex trafficking victims.
She said she often visited Backpage for rescues.
“If a parent calls me or messages me saying their child is missing…I have to go through page after page,” Stafford said. “That’s the hardest part.”
On June 23rd, Stafford will be hosting the 2nd Annual Stop The Traffick Walk near Bachman Lake.
Irving Police Arrest Pair For Alleged
IRVING, TX – The Irving Police Department is investigating a case of human trafficking that happened during the past few months. On Sunday, April 15, 2018, officers responded to a call where a victim reported escaping from a prostitution enterprise.
The victim, a young adult female, was kidnapped from California and brought to a home in the 200 block of Rolston Road against her will. While there, she was forced into prostitution by two suspects, America Anderson, 20, and Devanshu Gupta, 26.
They would advertise the services on a variety of websites, then take the victim to various local motels to meet with customers. Also at the home was a second victim, a juvenile female, who was also being held against her will and forced to participate in prostitution.
The responding officers and detectives quickly identified the suspects and took them into custody after seeing them leave the home with the juvenile victim. Both are currently being held in the Irving City Jail on charges of Trafficking of Persons, Trafficking of Child, Compelling Prostitution ($100,000 bond each charge) and Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution ($50,000 bond).
Investigation by AG Paxton’s Office Helps
Shut Down Backpage.com
AUSTIN, TX – In his office’s continued push to end human trafficking in Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Backpage.com, the largest online sex trafficking marketplace in the world, is permanently shut down.
The seizure and takedown of the Backpage website was accomplished through a collaborative law enforcement effort involving Attorney General Paxton’s office, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Arizona and Central District of California, and the California Attorney General’s office.
In October 2016, Carl Ferrer, the CEO of Backpage, was arrested in Houston by officers from Attorney General Paxton’s Law Enforcement Division in a joint operation with the California attorney general’s office. A search of the company’s Dallas headquarters uncovered a treasure trove of evidence that was critical to the investigation.
“Backpage generated millions of dollars annually on the backs of innocent women and children who were forced or coerced into sex trafficking,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Taking down this despicable website will undoubtedly save lives and spare many others from the unspeakable horrors of sex trafficking.”
Attorney General Paxton has made combating human trafficking a top priority.
Two years ago, he launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime unit, which works closely with prosecutors around Texas to prosecute human traffickers.
Earlier this year, he unveiled a powerful training video to teach Texans how to spot and report suspected human trafficking activity.