Counselor Accused of Forcing Foster Child into Sex Trade
By Jesse B. Gill
“FAMILY COUNSELOR AND TWO OTHERS CHARGED WITH CHILD PROSTITUTION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING.”
And just like that, we had our story.
District Attorney’s investigators worked with the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RACHT) to arrest a man named Daron Lamar Whitworth, 42, and accused him of pimping—a lot of pimping.
Prosecutors filed 44 felony charges against Whitworth. Among them were human trafficking, pimping a minor under 16 years old, pandering by procuring a minor under 16, child abuse, procuring a child to engage in lewd acts, contacting a minor for a sexual offense, multiple counts of unlawful sex with a minor, sodomy with a person under 18, corporal injury to a cohabitant and false imprisonment by violence.
All this against a guy whose job it was to provide guidance and support to foster kids and their families.
Until last week, Whitworth worked as a family specialist for EMQ FamiliesFirst, a non-governmental agency serving foster families and children. The non-profit has centers all over California—Whitworth worked in one that served San Bernardino County.
“Early on in the criminal investigation of this case, it became apparent a significant portion of the alleged criminal acts occurred within San Bernardino County,” RACHT supervisor Sgt. John Sawyer said in a statement. “This prompted members of the RCAHT Task Force to contact and work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners in San Bernardino County.”
Since being arrested Thursday, Whitworth has been occupying a cell at Central Detention Center in San Bernardino. His bail was set at more than $2 million. He entered not guilty pleas to all counts against him Friday during a video arraignment. He’s due to appear in court Nov. 28 for a pre-preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is set to be held two days later, and that’s where we’ll likely get the gory details of why detectives believe Whitworth did the deplorable things they’ve accused him of.
Also charged in the case is Whitworth’s uncle, Jacory Williams, 30, and Charmaine Williams, 24, both of San Bernardino. Jacory is still in the wind, but there’s a warrant out for his arrest. Charmaine is behind bars in a Los Angeles County jail on unrelated charges.
Prosecutors filed nine felony charges against Jacory Williams, including pimping of a child under 16, procuring a person with the purpose of prostitution, willful cruelty to a child, contacting a minor for a sexual offense and multiple counts of unlawful sex with a minor.
Charmaine was charged with pimping of a minor under 16 and willful cruelty to a child.
So far, authorities haven’t shared much in the way of the case’s details. They said RACHT detectives began investigating in August after they arrested a prostitute—a 15-year-old girl—on the streets of Hemet.
Whitworth teamed up with Jacory and Charmaine Williams to force that girl into prostitution, according to authorities. They allegedly employed her sexual services using the Internet.
Investigators and prosecutors believe Whitworth and the Williamses may have exploited many more children, seeing as Whitworth had a nearly inexhaustible supply of troubled kids who would have been easily exploited and pushed into prostitution. Anyone with more information about the case or believes they know a victim should call Sawyer at (951) 544-7000.
In the meantime, if anyone’s looking for open access to needy kids with limited parental involvement, EMQ FamiliesFirst is hiring more family specialists. According to non-profit’s website, the requirements are pretty minimal—all you need is a GED and a year of working with kids.
No word yet on whether or not forcing kids into the sex trade counts as experience.
Contact Jesse B. Gill at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @IEW_WatchDog.