An unlikely alliance between a prison guard and a former prisoner ended in both being charged with enslaving two teenagers and forcing them into prostitution.
While serving time for a parole violation and drug offense from February 2007 to September 2008, Pennsylvania prisoner Rasul Abernathy, 32, met guard Postauntaramin Walker, 34. Walker continued to work at the prison as she became Abernathy’s girlfriend.
Following his release, Abernathy met a 16-year-old girl in June 2012. She told him that she had run away from a court-ordered juvenile program at the Allegheny County’s Shuman Juvenile Detention Center.
“Abernathy told her that she could live with his girlfriend, Walker” FBI Special Agent Michael Goodhue wrote in an affidavit. “At the time, he did not disclose to the juvenile that he also lived with Walker.”
He also failed to inform her that the residence only had one bed, which the girl shared with the couple. From July 2012 to March 2013, Abernathy and Walker posted online ads with the girl’s picture, offering her for sexual services. Before sending her out, they would give her marijuana and pain pills to relax her. Abernathy would tell her how much to charge, while Walker showed her how to dress and apply make-up. When she returned they gave her alcohol.
If the girl refused to perform sexual services or tried to run away, Abernathy would punch her in the ribs, choke her and pull her hair. Walker also beat her. The girl contacted a counselor she trusted and was placed in a juvenile facility, but escaped and called Abernathy to pick her up. They moved from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, and the prostitution continued. The girl finally fled the couple’s residence after she was raped by another former prisoner, which Abernathy called a “learning experience.” When she ended up in a Pittsburgh juvenile facility, she informed authorities about her sexual enslavement.
Abernathy and Walker were charged with conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking and sex trafficking of a child; they were also charged with prostituting a 17-year-old boy between December 2012 and March 2013.
Abernathy was sentenced in January 2015 to ten years in prison after pleading guilty a few months earlier. In February 2015, Walker also received ten years for sex trafficking children and forcing the two teens into prostitution.
Sources: www.nbcphiladelphia.com, Associated Press, www.wtae.com
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