Hernando County detectives received a tip two years and one day ago about the horrid conditions in which a young girl was forced to live.
Sheriff Al Neinhuis contends it was a house that had no furniture or appliances. The floors were covered with animal and human waste.
What they discovered was a young teenager who was being sold for sex by a parent or guardian.
“We immediately rescued the victim,” the sheriff said at a news conference in Brooksville. “Then we worked this investigation backwards.”
Once the girl was removed from the home, she was taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center in Brooksville for a forensic interview by the University of Florida Child Protection Team.
The victim was then moved to a safe house well outside the area for victims of human trafficking. Then investigators worked to find who was involved.
Their investigation took two years. It included assistance from the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Children and Families and sheriff’s offices in Marion, Citrus and Gilchrist counties.
During the girl’s rescue, the parent or guardian who is not being named to protect the identity of the victim, was located in an adjacent room.
“This victim was at the age she should’ve been learning how to drive, or going to school dances,” Sheriff Neinhuis explained.
On Thursday, FDLE agents rounded up nine men they claim paid to have sex with the young teen.
Investigators claim Bryan Joseph Giguere, 36, of Homosassa, had an encounter with the victim at the residence of the parent/guardian in Hernando County, with the parent/guardian present.
They say Joseph Andrew Easton, 24, of Inverness, also had an encounter with the victim at the same residence with the parent/guardian at home, as did James William Hancock, 67, of Delray Beach, Jason Michael Raulerson, 46, of High Springs, and East Lake firefighter Matthew Chirstopher Doyle, 38, of Spring Hill.
According to the sheriff, Latchman Kaladeen, 49, of Wesley Chapel is in the country illegally. He had an encounter with the teen at the same location as the others.
Luigi Barile, 38, of Spring Hill, a local restaurant owner, allegedly met the victim in a hotel in Ocala, where she was accompanied by her parent/guardian.
“This was particularly disturbing,” Sheriff Neinhuis stated.
According to the sheriff, Barile brought three friends who all also paid to have sex with the girl.
The sheriff’s office said the girl’s parent or guardian also drove her to meet up with Lawrence Edward Kemble, 70, of Ocala.
Shawn Cchristopher Henson, 39, of Newberry, was also charged.
All nine suspects are facing human trafficking, conspiracy to commit human trafficking, lewd or lascivious battery and unlawful use of a two-way communication device charges.
“Cases like these, as a mother, horrify me,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said.
Hernando Judge Kurt Hitzemann refused to set bond for Basile and Doyle on the human trafficking charge.
They remain in the Hernando County jail waiting for a bond hearing next week.
According to Sheriff Neinhuis, since her removal from her parent/guardian, the victim has received special services that included trauma counseling, medical exams, schooling, clothing, personal items, guidance and support.
The sheriff said the victim told detectives she may want to pursue an education in social work to assist others.