King County prosecutors accuse a 22-year-old Seattle woman and her boyfriend of forcing a 17-year-old girl into prostitution, saying the couple later “abandoned” her after she was raped. The case came to light when she sought treatment at Seattle Children’s hospital.
A Seattle woman and her boyfriend have been charged with promoting the commercial sex abuse of a minor for allegedly pimping out the woman’s 17-year-old “little cousin” for a week, according to King County prosecutors.
Ayesha Barquet, 22, and James Croone Jr., 32, were arrested last week after Seattle police set up an undercover sting operation at a hotel on First Avenue South, according to King County prosecutors. Both were booked into the King County Jail, with bail set at $200,000 for Barquet and $175,000 for Croone, court records show.
Charging papers say Barquet recruited and advertised the girl online and Croone drove Barquet and the girl to and from their “dates” with customers. Both profited from prostituting the girl, who had sex with about a dozen men for $100 to $200 each while under their control, the papers say.
Barquet allegedly “abandoned” the girl after she was raped by a customer in early September, charging papers say.
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The girl’s mother reported her daughter missing to Seattle police in late August after the girl didn’t return home after spending the night with a friend, charging papers say.
The friend told the girl’s mother the girl had been picked up by Barquet, a distant relative through marriage who engages in prostitution and is listed under an alias on several websites advertising sex, the charges say.
The mother told police “she feared that she (Barquet) was forcing her daughter … to engage in prostitution with her,” according to charging papers.
Facebook messages between the two showed Barquet attempting to recruit the girl, who declined and responded that she would “prefer to make her money the hard and honest way,” the charges say.
It appears Barquet may have also tried to recruit a friend of the 17-year-old. The friend passed on Barquet’s phone number to the girl’s mother, according to the charging papers, and said she’d last seen the girl at the Federal Way Transit Center, where the 17-year-old had planned to meet up with Barquet.
Barquet allegedly abandoned the girl after forcing her into a “duo” date with a customer in early September that ended violently, the charges say. The girl later told police “a john” wanted to have unprotected sex and when she refused, she fought the man while Barquet watched, according to the charges.
The man eventually overpowered the girl and raped her in front of Barquet, the charges say. After the rape, Barquet chastised the girl for “whining like a baby” and complained the girl “was bad for business” since Barquet is “publicly rated on several escort services,” the charges say.
The girl, who was bleeding and in obvious pain, was dropped off at a friend’s house and was treated a few days later at Seattle Children’s hospital, where staff called police to report the rape, according to the charges.
She later told detectives that “although she tried to get out of having sex with ‘johns’ by instigating an argument before having sex, she was only successful a few times, and Ayesha Barquet warned her to stop doing that as it would hurt her reputation online as an escort,” charging papers say.