- The Washington Times - Monday, August 7, 2006

Maybe it’s not so “Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” But it ought to be.

If the outrageous charges against a Bowie High School football coach, who is accused of “pimping” a 14-year-old girl, are proved to be true, he should end up in the slammer just like the fictitious playa immortalized by actor Terrence Howard.

No Academy Award given or accepted for such a despicable character adaptation of teen trafficking.

In a repulsive weekend account, we learned that two men have been charged with twice victimizing an obviously vulnerable D.C. teenager by coercing her, raping her, prostituting her and then videotaping her to preserve their perverted sexual pleasures.

A 34-year-old U.S. Capitol Police officer, no less, Sgt. Michael Malloy has been charged in the District with first-degree child sex abuse while armed.

Arron J. Burroughs, a former volunteer assistant football coach at Bowie High School, has been charged with sexually abusing the girl, who said he was her pimp.

Mind you, both men abused their positions as protectors of children to prey upon this adolescent, who we can only assume was promised the world or frightened to death to go along with the pimp’s plans.

Clearly, she needs counseling and better parenting.

This exploited teen reportedly said she was taken from the District to Sgt. Malloy’s home in Charles County, Md., on numerous occasions.

According to court documents, Sgt. Malloy told authorities that he and Mr. Burroughs videotaped themselves engaging in sexual acts with the teen.

A videotape was found in Sgt. Malloy’s home by investigators.

On another occasion, the teen reportedly said she was taken to Independence Avenue to meet with a man with a holstered handgun and two-way radio and performed oral sex on him while in Mr. Burroughs’ car.

Although investigators identified the man she called “Mike” as Sgt. Malloy, he denied that charge in court Saturday.

Sgt. Malloy, who surrendered to D.C. police and the FBI Friday, told authorities that he paid Mr. Burroughs for the sexual acts. With an obvious minor? That’s not all.

This seedy story gets worse when you consider that Mr. Burroughs was arrested and charged with sexual abuse Friday only after Takoma Park police found the teenage girl having oral sex with a man in a parked car, according to published reports.

If she has been, as she states, a prostitute working for Mr. Burroughs since September, she was 14 when she was first “turned out,” or trafficked for sex.

Have these men never heard the term statutory rape? In the District, that’s sexual penetration or contact with anyone younger than 16, committed by anyone at least four years older.

Do grown folks have any idea what constitutes “coercion?” Did no one around this child recognize what trouble had befallen her? Or did they care?

Clearly the men who continued to abuse her took advantage of her questionable situation.

After we get beyond the shock, we must ask ourselves whether or how we can keep perverted predators and child molesters away from our children.

How do you teach children the constructs of a healthy relationship in a society that sells seedy sex at every turn, targeted especially to young consumers?

And, as in the case at issue, what to do about those who lust after “Lolita?”

Here’s a startling statistic from the Virginia Department of Health, courtesy of Robert L. Franklin, an outreach coordinator for sexual violence prevention who created the “Isn’t She a Little Young?” anti-abuse campaign (www.varapelaws.org).

Between 1999 and 2003, 2,684 Virginia babies were born to teens ages 14 and 15, which means they were 13 and 14 at the time of conception.

Of that number, 72 percent did not list any information about the baby’s father. Of the 28 percent who did, Mr. Franklin says, “64 percent of those could have been considered a felony at the time of conception.”

He also notes statistics that indicate that 13 percent of teen girls and 3 percent of teen boys report being sexually abused or assaulted by an adult.

Mr. Franklin suggests we need to find out “who’s at risk at being exploited.”

“If a girl is talking about her 25-year-old boyfriend, it’s time [for adults] to take a look at that,” he says.

In court yesterday, Sgt. Malloy’s attorney said his client was not aware of the teen’s age.

“Ask for two forms of identification, if you have to,” says Mr. Franklin, only half-jokingly, in his advice to men who contend they can’t tell a woman’s age.

Mr. Franklin has devised an impressive list of warning signs that are designed to educate professionals who come into contact with teens so they can spot sexual abuse easier.

Teens who are involved in coercive or abusive relationships as their first sexual encounters often are pulled into other social disorders such as drug abuse.

“We need to change our view from the victim to the perpetrators; our view from that of a promiscuous teen to look at the adult and ask them what they are doing,” he says.

“How do we help society look at a 14-year-old having sex and not see a hootchy-mama, but start looking at the adults and seeing them as the perverted abusers they are?”

This D.C. teen-trafficking case shows that it will be “Hard Out Here for a Pimp” only when we, as a community of responsible, respectable adults, make it so.

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