It all started when federal investigators noticed a 17-year-old runaway girl from Seattle posting ads soliciting sex on Craigslist. It didn't take them long after that to determine that there was another, even younger, teenage girl doing the same thing and that Sgt. Sterling Terrance Hospedales was behind it all as a part time pimp and a full time scumbag.
Investigators from the Innocence Lost Task Force, a division of the FBI that tracks underage prostitution, uncovered the plot when the girls showed up on missing persons lists. They then arranged a "date" with the girls, which, if they were normal Johns, would have amounted to a half hour or hour-long go on a sweaty air mattress in Hospedales' Lakewood apartment, for $100 to $150.
When the agents met with the girls at a local McDonald's they began questioning them and soon they were spilling the beans about how Hospedales had taken nude pictures of them and posted them on Craigslist. They also said that whatever money they got for selling their bodies he kept.
When officers searched Hospedales' apartment they found condoms, lubricant, handcuffs, and wipes. And when they met up with Hospedales himself at the same place, he was on his way to his car and had an envelope with $882 and a birth certificate that belonged to one of the girls.
He initially fought the charges, despite admitting to at least one crime during interrogation. He later lobbied to have the case moved to military court--a request that was denied.
At a Tacoma courthouse on Monday, KOMO News reports that Judge Benjamin Settle told him that he had disgraced his uniform. He then sentenced him to 11 years hard time, plus seven years of supervised probation after he's released and a lifetime registration as a sex criminal.
"You elected to go down a road of service to a country that adopted you, but you also chose a very dark road to go down," Settle said. "Whatever sentence I give you won't heal the scars your actions imposed upon these victims."