Lawsuit: Virginia cops protected sex trafficking ring

Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, protected a sex trafficking ring in Northern Virginia while receiving free use of its "services", claims a lawsuit filed by one of its victims. Two now-former officers are named—Michael O. Barbazette of Manassas and Jason J. Mardocco of Gainesville—and a third says internal efforts to investigate the ring resulted in threats from high-ranking officers.

…when she arrived in the U.S. in late 2010, the woman who ran the trafficking ring, Hazel Sanchez Cerdas, took her passport and forced her to engage in commercial sex. When the woman said she wanted to leave, Sanchez alternately threatened to harm the woman's family in Costa Rica or tell the family she was a prostitute, according to the lawsuit.

Sanchez pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria to running the prostitution ring and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. Prosecutors in that case said women in Sanchez's operation were required to have sex with up to 17 customers a day, and instructed to comply with requests even for particularly humiliating or dangerous sex acts.

Here's an interesting part of the case: the now-resigned police chief, said to be among those protecting the ring, was attempting to reform the force after one of its officers killed an unarmed man. He was ousted just a few months ago after police "unions" organized no-confidence votes against him. Though the obvious conclusion might be "see, ACAB", the ugly sight of cop fraternities crudely pulling the strings while all this shakes out should encourage a very thorough investigation of everyone's activities.