Monday, October 23, 2006

Coach Indicted on Child Sex Trafficking Charges

By Brigid Schulte

Washington Post Staff Writer

Aaron Burroughs, the former junior varsity football coach at Bowie High School who was arrested on charges of pimping a 14-year-old girl, was indicted by a federal grand jury late Thursday on six counts of sex trafficking of children and first-degree child sexual abuse.

Burroughs, 35, has been held in the D.C. jail on local charges since he was arrested July 31 in a New York Avenue NE motel room, where he allegedly was waiting for the girl to come back after a night of working as a prostitute.

Instead, according to charging documents, Takoma Park police had taken the girl into custody early in the morning when they found her in a deserted parking lot performing oral sex for pay on a man police did not name. They had her send a text message to Burroughs's cellphone arranging a meeting for that evening. Burroughs gave police a statement that he had had sex on numerous occasions with the girl and taken her from Maryland to the District to work "the strip" along New York Avenue as a prostitute.

The night before, Burroughs, a Metro bus driver, had taken the girl to the bus depot on Bladensburg Road where he worked and, according to charging documents, had sex with her in the parking lot in his gold Range Rover.

The girl has not been publicly identified, and The Washington Post generally does not identify victims of sexual abuse.

Burroughs has been jailed without bond since his arrest. He has been segregated from the general prison population for his protection, police officials said, as is customary with those charged in child sexual abuse cases. He is expected to be arraigned next week.

Prosecutors are seeking to confiscate Burroughs's cars, a 1995 Range Rover and a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, if he is convicted, the indictment shows, along with any other real or personal property "used or intended to be used to commit or to facilitate the commission" of child sex abuse and trafficking.

Burroughs's attorney, Spencer Hecht, declined to comment on the indictment Friday.

Burroughs's childhood friend, U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Michael Malloy, 34, was also arrested on child sex abuse charges in connection with the case. According to charging documents, Burroughs drove the girl to Malloy's home, where both men had sex with her and videotaped it. Malloy, whose case is on a separate track in D.C. Superior Court, has been under house arrest in Southern Maryland since August.

The charges have left the Bowie community reeling.

Burroughs was an unpaid volunteer football coach for years, first for the Bowie Boys and Girls Club and later at Bowie High. Many could not believe the news. "He's a good man," said Pat Phipps, a coach at the Bowie Boys and Girls Club. "The man they were describing in the news is not the man I knew."

Prince George's County public schools, partly in response to the case, will begin requiring either commercial or complete background checks, with fingerprints, on all volunteers who interact with students while they are unsupervised by school officials. The policy will take effect Jan. 1.

"Bowie High has been suffering, along with this young lady and her family, and we're hoping that this indictment will be the beginning to our healing," said Mary Nusser, president of Bowie High's Parent Teacher Student Organization.

The group is compiling a list of experts on sex abuse and sex trafficking and hopes to make a presentation to students and the community. "It's going to be geared toward young men and young women about keeping themselves safe," Nusser said. "This is still something that is beyond belief."

1 comment:

HeatherBartlett said...

I live in Southern Maryland.

I understand we had quite a problem with prostitution, massage parlors and human trafficking back in 2003 - I found a Washington Post article on the Polaris Project website about Charles County's sex industry problem.