An illegal immigrant from Costa Rica accused a former Fairfax County police chief and three officers of offering protection for a human-trafficking syndicate in Northern Virginia. The alleged victim, who made the accusation before a federal jury, claimed she performed lewd acts on the four men after she was trafficked to the U.S.
A lawsuit alleges that Fairfax County police officers protected a sex trafficking ring in Northern Virginia in exchange for free sex from the trafficked women.
The county's police chief is also named a defendant and is accused of helping cover up.https://t.co/njhmZwoEP3
— The Virginian-Pilot (@virginianpilot) December 21, 2021
Testifying under the pseudonym “Jane Doe” in Alexandria, Virginia, the woman claimed the four law enforcement officers disregarded federal law by halting efforts to investigate and prosecute a woman named Hazel Sanchez.
Court documents identified the four men as former Fairfax County police chief Edwin C. Roessler, James Baumstark, a former captain and now the deputy chief in Asheville, officers Michael O. Barbazette and Jason J. Mardocco.
Doe initiated a lawsuit in 2021, requesting unspecified financial damages. Doe claimed that Sanchez lured her from Costa Rica to Virginia to work as a nanny and high-end escort who would spend time with wealthy clients without necessarily being intimate with them.
Sanchez’s plea deal revealed the women were forced to sleep with up to 17 men daily and were subjected to dangerous and degrading acts.
Sanchez, sentenced to less than three years in prison, admitted to managing an “unlawful prostitution activity.” She also seized the passports of five women and threatened to contact the U.S. immigration authorities if they didn’t follow her orders.
Doe, filled with emotions as she testified, detailed the degrading acts Sanchez forced her to perform under threat. She told the jury that the officers failed in their responsibilities.
“They were police officers sworn to enforce the law, not to break it,” Doe’s attorney, Victor M. Glasberg, argued in his opening statement to the jury.
Barbazette and Mardocco admitted to being Sanchez’s clients. Both men resigned from the department when investigators discovered their phone numbers on Sanchez’s phone, according to FOX 5.
However, Kimberly P. Baucom, Roessler and Baumstark’s attorney, described the allegations as “preposterous,” while arguing that they did not surface until the case gained publicity. The lawyer also argued that none of the four police officers have been criminally charged.
“It’s (Doe’s accusations) made up of whole cloth. It’s simply false,” Baucom argued.