Details of Western Pennsylvania child sex trafficking case released

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A prison guard and her ex-con boyfriend turned a 16-year-old Western Pennsylvania girl into a prostitute, according to a recently released FBI affidavit in a child sex trafficking case.

Poshauntamarin Walker, 33, and Rasul Abernathy, 32 -- both of whom lived in North Versailles before moving to Chester County last year -- face federal charges of sex trafficking of a child and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking.

According to the FBI affidavit justifying a search of their Coatesville home, the two met when Ms. Walker was an officer at the State Correctional Institution Greensburg following her hire in 2008.

Abernathy served time there. His criminal history includes convictions on drug offenses in 2001 and 2002, and a not-guilty verdict at trial on attempted homicide and aggravated assault in 2006, all when he lived in Coatesville. He also had a drunk driving conviction in 2012 when he lived in North Versailles.

The victim, a runaway from a juvenile placement, met the two in July 2012, according to the affidavit, and moved into their apartment. The three shared a bed, and, the FBI agent wrote, "Abernathy told her that she would have to work as a prostitute for them to earn money."

The two adults advertised the girl online and rented hotel rooms in which she would work, according to the affidavit. Ms. Walker trained her in "how to do her hair and makeup, how to dress," and Abernathy provided her with marijuana, pain medication and alcohol, the agent wrote.

The girl told the agent that Abernathy punched and threatened her and made her aware that he had three guns. The two "told her that she had to stay inside because she was on the run from juvenile placement," the agent wrote.

In October 2012, the girl contacted a counselor and reported that she was being forced to work as a prostitute. As a result, North Versailles police picked her up and took her to a placement center.

"Abernathy was present when the juvenile was taken and was not questioned," though police told him that the girl was a juvenile, according to the affidavit.

North Versailles police Chief Vincent DiCenzo said the girl "said that [Abernathy] was a friend, and that was it.

"We took her into custody and we notified [Child Youth and Families]."

The FBI agent wrote that the girl was "jumped" by a resident of the placement center, the name of which was redacted from the affidavit. She ran away, and returned to Abernathy and Ms. Walker, according to the affidavit.

They continued to prostitute her and moved to Coatesville, the agent wrote. Ms. Walker was transferred to SCI Chester following the mid-year closure of SCI Greensburg, but never showed up at her new prison and was terminated in November.

In Coatesville, Abernathy and another man raped the girl, with her captor characterizing it as a "learning experience," according to the affidavit.

The girl promptly ran away, turned herself in to authorities and ended up at Shuman Juvenile Detention Center. In April 2013, she reported the events, according to the affidavit, leading to the investigation and indictment of Abernathy and Ms. Walker.

They were arrested in Philadelphia last week and are being transported to Pittsburgh for prosecution.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord. First Published February 5, 2014 9:45 AM


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