Tag Archives: Prince George’s

Paying to play in Baltimore County Schools; Is it in similar lines OR worse with PGCPS system?

 

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Both interim superintendent Verletta White and former superintendent Dallas Dance worked as consultants to travel twice a year to conferences where they and other school administrators from around the nation would meet privately in three hour sessions with executives of companies that produce education technology for school districts.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Once a rising star in education circles, Former Superintendent Dallas Dance faces perjury charges for failing to report consulting fees in the six figures, and to a lesser degree, Interim Superintendent Verletta White, never reported more modest fees she received on an yearly basis.

State Senator James Brochin (D-Baltimore County) says that double-dipping has to stop.

“She said it was an oversight over four years and each year she was supposed to report outside income, and we may have a legislative fix for that,” said Brochin, “Senator Jennings and I have put a piece of legislation in that we’ve just ordered that said from now on, any superintendent can’t have any outside income. I mean, my goodness, you’re got $259,000 a year, you get a car, you get a housing allowance, you get a credit card to go to lunch and breakfast with people all the time. I mean, ‘Enough!'”

Despite initial resistance by school administrators, Brochin insisted on an audit of some of the spending practices in the Baltimore County Schools system, and questions surround what access companies received due to dance and whites’ outside work.

Brochin says at the heart of the matter is a Chicago-based company called Education Research and Development Institute or ERDI, which offered free flights and easy money to administrators while charging tech companies to give them exclusive access to them.

“You can do a bronze membership for $5,000, a silver member ship for $8,000 or a gold membership for $10,000 and they’re guaranteeing sit downs, and I just thought it was a very unusual way of doing business,” said Brochin, “It didn’t pass the smell test for me.”

State senators will question White over those relationships in Annapolis on Friday raising concerns, which may extend well beyond a failure to report making money on the side.

“I had never seen so many no-bid contracts and the problem and the reason I don’t think we’re finished with this dilemma is some of these no-bid contracts were in direct relationship to the meetings that ERDI facilitated between the technology companies and the former superintendent and the current superintendent,” said Brochin.

House leaders from Baltimore County also plan to question White in two weeks, and they, like their Senate counterparts, are expected to question the school board’s ability or lack of it in providing oversight as the outside work and no-bid contracts unfolded.

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Ardra O’Neal involved in criminal undertaking of defrauding employees while working closely with employers in malicious undertaking.

PGCPS system and the Culture of pay to play as a training ground for Many Counties in Maryland and payoff of lawyers to derail proceedings

Board of Education for Prince George’s County has in the last several years engaged in an organized scheme to defraud the public as part of the culture of pay to play working closely with THE O’NEAL LAW FIRM, LLP; THATCHER LAW FIRM; SULLIVAN, TALBOTT & BATT; BRYAN CHAPMAN; RMA & ASSOCIATES, LLC; ROBERT E. CAPPELL; HARDNETT & ASSOCIATES; BRADFORD ASSOCIATES; PESSIN KATZ LAW, P.A.; MARYLAND STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION; ASSOCIATION OF SUPERVISORY & ADMINISTRATIVE SCHOOL; MARYLAND STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION; C. SUKARI HARDNETT, LLC and other co-conspirators have engaged in an ongoing willful endeavor to engage in criminal undertaking while defrauding Plaintiffs in a variety of settings which is ongoing both criminal and civil activities throughout Maryland, Washington DC and virginia (DMV).

That, these illegal actions are being coordinated through a number of unethical events in conspiracy with other parties in Maryland, Virginia and in Washington DC and involve public corruption fueled by the Kleptocracy regimes on several levels with epicenter being in Prince George’s County Maryland and Washington DC.

These illegal activities are ongoing in nature as part of racketeering activity organized by the Thatcher Law Firm on behalf of the Board of Education for Prince George’s County after receiving more than $5 million dollars starting during the tenure of Dr. William Hite Jr. These illegal schemes have other participants starting with the Maryland office of the Attorney General, Maryland State Department of Education, Prince George’s County office of the county Executive and the AFSCME International Union et al.

UNION CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

There is a strong coordination starting with former employees of prince George’s county education association (PGCEA)  union. The many former senior officers starting with Christian Rhodes, current director of Labor relations and others in the other unions with ties to Maryland state Education Association (MSEA), have created a conflicts of interests so strong that it’s grounding educational outcomes in the Prince George’s County.

To make the matters worse, the Chairman of the board who is brother in law to County Executive Rushern Baker works for the mother-ship National Education Association (NEA). In this kind of situation, any grievance brought about will certainly will not work due to concealment of the issues. As a result, hundreds of students and staff are impacted.  Many of the senior union officials are simply lining up their pockets as the staff and children in the county suffer real damages.

In addition, besides being the President of PGCEA, Hon. Theresa Mitchell Dudley also serves in the Democratic Central committee for Prince George’s county. Does the later role also create a strong conflict of interest with the county? How does serving the teachers and Democratic Central committee for Prince George’s county serve the interest of teachers?

(more to come)

BOYCOTT THESE LAW-FIRMS AND ORGANIZATIONS OPERATING IN MARYLAND INVOLVED IN MAJOR FRAUD

  1.  THE O’NEAL LAW FIRM, LLP;
  2. THATCHER LAW FIRM;
  3. SULLIVAN, TALBOTT & BATT;
  4. BRYAN CHAPMAN;
  5. RAOUF ABDULLAH & RMA & ASSOCIATES, LLC;
  6. ROBERT E. CAPPELL;
  7. HARDNETT & ASSOCIATES;
  8. BRADFORD ASSOCIATES;
  9. PESSIN KATZ LAW, P.A.;
  10. MARYLAND STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION;
  11. ASSOCIATION OF SUPERVISORY & ADMINISTRATIVE SCHOOL;
  12. MARYLAND STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION;
  13. C. SUKARI HARDNETT, LLC 
  14. CALIFORNIA CASUALTY INDEMNITY EXCHANGE
  15. MARYLAND OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL 
  16. PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXCUTIVE
  17. ROGER THOMAS AND The Law Office of Roger C. Thomas, Esquire
  18. AFSCME International Union
  19. ACE-AFSCME LOCAL 2250
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Linda Hitt Thatcher is the managing member of the Thatcher Law Firm, LLC in Greenbelt, Maryland – The firm received more than $5 million dollars which has been used to pay off lawyers over the years under the table.

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state prosecutors are investigating former Baltimore County school superintendent Dallas Dance and his relationship with a company that did business with the school system.

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County schools see all-time high grad rates – is work of fiction and Misrepresentation.

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According to keen observers of the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) system, the recent all-time high grad rates presented to the media – is work of fiction and misrepresentation. The reasons why PGCPS is cooking up numbers are considered many but can be tailored down to the following

  • A bill pending in Maryland legislature to repeal HB1107 (See PG 402-17),
  • the system is facing several lawsuits due misconduct by the executives,
  • PGCPS corruption is spreading to other states (See here) and (here)
  • Some Board members themselves in Prince George’s County might be preparing to run for a future political office.
  • County Executive plans to run for Maryland wide state office.
  • CEO Kevin Maxwell wants to have another new contract.
  • The Democratic party regime in Maryland wants to show off good numbers.

Real improvements in a school system such as  Prince George’s County take time and hard work. Miraculous sudden improvements in student achievement as shown below in the article  is likely the result of outright fraud or a rigged evaluation system designed to produce desired results. Several people who have been following this agrees with this assessment. (See facebook screen shots below).

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UPPER MARLBORO — For the fourth consecutive year, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) is celebrating increased graduation rates.

On Tuesday, the Maryland State Department of Education released its annual Maryland Report Card detailing graduation and drop out rates for the 2015-2016 school year, and PGCPS has a lot to celebrate, said its Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell.

“I’m very, very proud of the work that we’re doing,” he said. “We came in 2013 after the 2013 scores were at 74.1 and we said, ‘we should be able to do better than this.’”

For 2016, the county school system reached an all-time high in graduation rates in the new scaling system that was introduced in 2010. The state of Maryland also set a new record.

Prince George’s seniors are now graduating at a rate of 81.44 percent – a 2.69 percentage point increase over the 2014-2015 school year, which saw a 78.75 percent rate. The statewide average now sits at 87.61 percent, up more than half a percentage point from last year.

Montgomery County took home a 0.47 percent increase, while Anne Arundel had 1 percent. In Virginia, Fairfax County saw a 0.2 percentage point loss as Arlington County saw a 1.8 percentage point decrease, though both Virginia systems remain in the 90 percents for graduation, according to Virginia Department of Education data.

Moreover, since 2010, the state has seen a six-point increase in graduation rates, while Prince George’s County saw a 5.26 increase.

“The new data is great news for Maryland, as the high school diploma is the important first step of a successful journey,” said State Superintendent Karen Salmon. “We continue to strengthen our standards and our classrooms to better prepare each student for employment or additional education.”

Maxwell also attributed PGCPS’ success to a number of administrative changes on how schools address struggling students.

“We did a number of things and we’ve just been consistently working on getting better. We developed the early warning system and we went to the public education leadership program at Harvard to refine that work,” Maxwell said.

The early warning system helps PGCPS target struggling students and their needs, Maxwell said. That also helps the individual schools get the support needed to reach their goals.

The school system also initiated a credit recovery system to allow students who have fallen behind recover credit for their missed work.

Segun Eubanks, chair of the county’s board of education, said those changes have resulted in evident progress as PGCPS saw  “promising” increases across the board – at their specialty, vocational and neighborhood schools alike.

Some of the biggest increases were at Surrattsville High School, which saw an increase of 10.61 percent, Tall Oaks Vocational, which saw an increase of 17.56 percent, and Gwynn Park and Suitland high schools, which both increased by around seven percentage points.SurratGrad_01.jpgGraduation rates for Caucasian students increased by 1.4 points, to 80.3 percent. African American students’ rates rose 4.16 points, to 85.4, while Asian students rose 2.45 to 91.7 percent and American Indian or Alaskan Native students rose 13.26 points to nearly 72 percent, after a significant drop for that cohort in 2015.

Hispanic/Latino graduation rates, however, dropped by 0.64 percentage points.

Special education students saw a 6.36-point increase in their rates over 2015, bringing their rate to approximately 67.4 percent. Students on free and reduced meals also saw increases, as their graduation rate rose by two points to 77.49 percent.

“We talk about every student, in every school, everyday,” Eubanks said. “This is a focus on saying, ‘this is about the system, this is about all kids.’ All means all, so that’s the kind of mentality we’re trying to have.”

County Executive Rushern Baker, III said he is ecstatic over the increase and pointed to Maxwell’s leadership as a turning point for the school system.

“These are the things that I asked Dr. Maxwell to do when we hired him, and that is to come here and turn around our graduation rate,” he said. “And the reason it’s so important is that we know if our young people come out of high school with at least a high school diploma, that puts them on a path where they can get a job, where they can go on to community college for a four-year degree. But their chances are so much better.”

Other notable increases were at Potomac, with a 5.2 percentage point increase after a 13-point increase in 2015 over 2014’s 57.8 percent graduation rate. Bowie rose roughly 4.7 percentage points at the same time Friendly rose 4.5 points, Charles H. Flowers rose 4.8, and High Point rose 3.3. Rates at the now-closed Forestville rose by nearly four points.

“They show our residents of the county how well the public school system is doing preparing our children to graduate, and I think it gives greater confident of our folks to put their children into our public school system,” Baker said.

This year also showed an increase in schools that now rest in the 90percent zone for high school graduations. Bowie High broke into the 90 range, as did Charles H. Flowers, Gwynn Park and Surrattsville. DuVal increased from 91.6 to 92.3 while Eleanor Roosevelt moved from 90.45 to 91.47 and Frederick Douglass increased from 90.3 to almost 92 percent.

Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. is just outside 90 with an 89.17 percent graduation rate.

“Those percentages, they actually represent kids who are graduating that might not have been graduating a few years ago and that’s a credit to the work we’re been doing and it gives them opportunities they wouldn’t be having,” Maxwell.

Eubanks said, though he is proud of the accomplishments the school system has made in gradation rates, he also noted the school system is not just graduating students for the sake of moving them along. PGCPS is also proud of the quality of its graduates and their accomplishments, he said.

“We’re graduating with higher standards,” Eubanks said. “We’re keeping up with preparedness for people for jobs and a career. So if we’re graduating at higher percentages and they’re ready, that’s the way we want to go.”

Despite gains, both Maxwell and Eubanks said the school system still has “a lot of work to do.”

The Hispanic graduation rate decreased while students with limited English proficiency (LEP) also decreased by 4 percentage points from 53.61 percent in 2015 to 49.6 in 2016. That also reflects a consistent decrease since 2013 when the LEP graduation rate stood at 63 percent.

A few schools within PGCPS also saw some significant decreases in their graduation rates. Croom Vocational saw a more than seven-point dip. Northwestern Evening School saw a five-point decrease and the Community-Based Classrooms experienced a nearly 13-percentage-point fall.

In addition Fairmont Heights, Parkdale, Central and Baldensburg all saw 1 and 2 percent decreases.

And while an increasing number of PGCPS high schools are reaching 90 percent and above rates, schools like High Point and Northwestern are still in the 60 percent range.

Maxwell said his goal is still to catch up to the state average, though he admitted brining up PGCPS’ rates would increase the overall state percentage as well.

“We’re really proud of where we are, but we know we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We’re one of the larger districts in the state, so when we get better, the whole state gets better. That’s true, but we can still close that gap and we’re going to continue to pursue that.”

Via Prince George’s County Sentinel

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County council takes no position, board of education opposes 1107 repeal

Annapolis-State-House-MD-flagUPPER MARLBORO – Both the board of education and the county council weighed in on the state’s efforts to change the structure of the Prince George’s County Board of Education yet again.

The Prince George’s House Delegation is considering a bill, PG 402-17, which would repeal major provisions of HB 1107, passed by the General Assembly in 2013. The repeal would return the body to an all-elected board and create provisions for special elections – at county expense – to fill vacant board seats. Under current law, the county executive has the power to fill vacant board seats, as well as to appoint four members to the board and choose the chief executive officer (CEO) for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). The repeal would give the board the power to choose who heads PGCPS.

During a Feb. 2 work session, the board of education voted 9-2 to accept the board’s policy committee’s recommendation to oppose the bill. Edward Burroughs, III and Raheela Ahmed, both elected members, cast the no votes.

“The power really lies in the hands of three individuals, and it’s not fair. It’s not fair to those individuals, and it’s not fair for our system to have this form of governance that is so determined by three individuals,” Ahmed said of the current structure. “If one of the key players changes then that can cause some imbalance in our system, and that’s not fair for our students and our schools either.”

Demetria Tobias, associate general counsel for PGCPS, said the policy committee recommended the board oppose the bill for several reasons. She said it is premature, because HB 1107 already included provisions for reporting and evaluating progress under the new governance structure to allow the General Assembly to revisit the changes in the 2018 session. Tobias also said the impression was that the bill was partially in response to the issues the school system has faced over the last year, such as the loss of Head Start funding and child abuse allegations. She said those problems are not symptoms of the school system’s governance structure being broken.

“It is unfair, in our view, and inaccurate, to blame those issues, those crises, those problems that we are actually working on, on the new governance structure,” Tobias said.

Burroughs disagreed. He said the board’s inability to hold school leadership accountable for failing to share information about the warnings sent by the federal government about the Head Start program resulted in the loss of the funds.

“If I have the ability to select my own leadership, those individuals would have been held accountable by this board. The county executive refused to hold the leadership accountable, and as a result we lost the funds,” Burroughs said.

He also said the fact that the board of education needs a two-thirds vote to override the CEO’s decisions was a cause of rising class sizes and administrative costs within PGCPS.

His board colleague Beverly Anderson also criticized that two-thirds vote policy, but said the structure of the governing body isn’t as important as the people that make it up.

“I think 1107, almost any structure is okay, but it’s the attitudes and the implementations and the transparency of workers and what my peer Ms. (Lupi) Grady said – it’s bringing our best to the situation,” Anderson said. “And I think that our best has not yet been brought, but this is not to speak against 1107 but rather to speak to the need to refine 1107.”

Board member Sonya Williams agreed that refining HB 1107 would be preferable, and said the board should take a more active role in doing that work because they understand best the needs of the school system.

“I think in order for us to be proactive, I think we need to take the time between now and next session to determine what we want the House Bill 1107 to look like,” she said. “No one sitting outside this boardroom knows the details we review, approve, conversate on. So, no one can tell us what this House bill should look like. No one can tell us what the governance of this board should look like.”

On Jan. 31, in a 6-1 vote, the county council approved a letter to the House and Senate delegations stating the council takes no position on 402-17. Councilwoman Andrea Harrison was the dissenter, and Councilmembers Mel Franklin and Karen Toles were absent. The council arrived at its position while meeting as the Rules and General Assembly committee last week, but members held individual, and strong, opinions in spite of the consensus.

A major point of dissent was the statement in the draft letter that the board’s composition prior to the enacting of HB 1107 was problematic.

“I disagree with the statement that there were ‘inherent problems with the former board’s composition.’ I don’t know where that’s coming from. That’s how the county board of education looked for years and years and years before it was temporarily replaced with a nine-member appointed board,” said Councilwoman Mary Lehman.

Lehman said the issue is with the board’s effectiveness, not its composition. Her colleague Deni Taveras disagreed, saying the prior system did not require the board members to have high-level degrees in the educational field.

“I do recall that there were a lot of problems with the fact that we were basically the laughing stock of the region in terms of the qualifications of the board that was in place,” she said. “I think that when we’re dealing with $2 billion worth of money, I think that people should expect some level of qualification, that they’re experts in their field.”

Harrison disagreed and said it was “snobbish, uppity, and judgmental” to say someone is not qualified for the board of education because of a lack of a degree. Lehman said more concerning to her was the fact that some board members did not have children in the school system they were overseeing.

In the end, the council agreed to some minor wording changes in their letter to the state. The letter as amended says, “We believe that a complete repeal would require some further discussion on the type of replacement or alternative. Simply returning the governance structure back to how it was prior to HB 1107 may not likely be the best approach to furthering systemic edification in (an) effort to increase student achievement.”

The letter also indicates the council supports another bill before the delegation, PG 416-17, which would create a task force to study school system governance. The council, according to its letter, feels that “any further changes to the board will require some type of intensive study of best practices.”

The council did request the timeline for the task force’s report be moved up, from Oct. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2017, to coincide with the reporting required under HB 1107.

Although the letter has been sent, the council’s discussions with the delegation will continue. Council Chair Derrick Davis urged his colleagues to be precise in those conversations.

“When you talk to your friends on the Maryland state legislature, that you separate the things that we agreed upon from the things that you may feel as a specific and individual member,” he told his colleagues.

via sentinel

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Four arrested in shooting of Md. rapper found dead in his home

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Four people were arrested in the killing of local rapper Khalil Wiggins, who police believe was killed in his home during a robbery.

Responding to a call on December 29 at about 8:40 p.m., Prince George’s County Police officers found a man shot multiple times in his home in the 3900 block of Byers Street in Capitol Heights.

Four people have admitted their involvement in Wiggins’s killing, according to Prince George’s County police: Michael Stevenson III, 22, of Southeast Washington; Quran Middleton-Bey, 22, of Cheltenham; and Kierra Williams and Damond Foster, both 23 and both of Alexandria.

All four have been charged with first- and second-degree murder and are being held without bond, police said.

Big Lyl and his group, Section 8 Mob, appeared in the movie “Guilty By Association” starring Morgan Freeman in 2003, according to IMDb.com.

Khalil Wiggins, 44, was found shot inside his home at about 8:40 p.m. Dec. 29 in the 3900 block of Byers Street in Capitol Heights. He was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Wiggins performed under the name Big Lyl and was active in the region’s music scene, according to tribute pages on social media.

Police believe the motive was robbery. The four suspects admitted their involvement in the murder, police say. All are being held on a no-bond status.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Homicide Unit at 301-772-4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), text “PGPD plus your message” to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go to http://www.pgcrimesolvers.com and submit a tip online.

Read more >>>Former PGCPS Student and Local Rapper Big Lyl Shot to Death Inside His Home.

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Khalil Wiggins 44, who performed as Big Lyl, Suffered multiple gunshots wounds – He lived in Capital Heights and was an alumni of Fairmont Heights High School in PGCPS

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Prince George’s liquor board director tried to sabotage bribery probe, prosecutors say

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David Son (seen here) had been wearing a wire and providing recordings to federal investigators

WASHINGTON — The director of the Prince George’s County liquor board who was arrested in a bribery scandal last week had been cooperating with the FBI for months until he recently tried to sabotage the investigation, prosecutors say.

David Son had been wearing a wire and providing recordings to federal investigators, but then began tipping people off and informing other targets, which prompted the FBI to raid the liquor board’s headquarters in Largo, Maryland, Thursday and arrest Son, NBC Washington reports.

Son is facing charges of bribery and conspiracy, having been accused of helping broker bribes to elected officials in return for their support of legislation loosening liquor sales in the county. Specifically, according to an affidavit, Son helped transfer bribes from business owners to elected officials in order to help pass a bill that allowed for more permits for Sunday liquor sales.

 Prosecutors say Son was involved in bribes from at least 2012 through 2015 in amounts between $1,000 and $5,000, The Washington Post reports.
Three other people were arrested in the investigation, including liquor board Commissioner Anuj Sud, who resigned Friday. Sud is accused of soliciting bribes from lobbyists in exchange for voting a particular way during board hearings that would benefit the lobbyist’s client.

 The liquor board, known officially as the Board of License Commissioners, regulates more than 600 liquor stores, restaurants and other businesses in Prince George’s County.

Two elected officials, who have not been named, are expected to be charged in connection with the scandal.

 Following a hearing in federal court Monday, Son was released from custody and sent home, where he will be monitored electronically. He will help the FBI sift through 30 months of wiretaps and hundreds of recordings, The Post reports.

 U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod Rosenstein said the investigation into members of the liquor board has been ongoing for four years.
Via WTOP
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PG Co. pimp sentenced for prostituting 15-year-old girl recruited online.

alcatrazcellsTwenty-seven-year-old Michael Andrew Davila was sentenced on Monday to 175 months (over 14 years) in prison for prostituting a 15-year-old girl whose services were advertised in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia, the United States Attorney’s Office of Maryland announced in a press release.

In January 2015, Davila confessed to recruiting the 15-year-old through Instagram.

Following Davila’s release, the Attorney’s Office reported he will also serve 25 years of supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender.

“Michael Andrew Davila will be locked in a federal cell until the year 2030 for exploiting a vulnerable child,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated in the press release. “Time and again, we see that tragedy awaits some children who use the internet without parental supervision.”

According to the Attorney’s Office, the 15-year-old was recruited in January 2015 and turned 16 later that same month. Over the next couple months, Davila made arrangements for the teen to be prostituted under fake names and ages.

“Between January and March 2015, Davila arranged for the victim to engage in acts of prostitution, advertised the victim online for sexual services in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, using a false name and age for the victim, and transported or arranged for transportation of the victim throughout Maryland, DC. and Virginia to engage in commercial sex acts,” the Attorney’s Office also stated in the press release.

On April 20, 2015, Davila was arrested at a motel in Laurel where officials say he was staying with his mother Maria Davila.

His mother later confessed that after her son’s arrest she erased a KIK account and attempted to erase a Pinger account that was used to communicate with the prostitute victims. She was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit evidence tampering.

Davila’s co-defendant Elsie Liseth Pazmino was also sentenced to “time served, followed by six months of home detention as part of three years of supervised release, for using the telephone and internet to facilitate the prostitution of the minor.”

This case was investigated by FBI-led Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force (MCETF).

Via WJLAprincegeorges1-2

 

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