Auburn Sex Trafficking Case of 13-year-old Girl Heads to a Grand Jury
Four people were arrested for the kidnapping and rape of a 13-year-old girl. Brian Askew and Corey Heard had preliminary hearings on Wednesday. Judge Steven Speakman found probable cause and bounded their cases over to a grand jury.
The victim ran away from the Lee County Youth Development Center in October 2017.
Investigators said several men picked her up, drugged her and fed her alcohol. Taken first to a house in Macon County and then to the home of 37-year-old Brian Askew investigators said Askew took money from people in exchange for sex with the girl. They then said 36-year-old Corey Heard was arrested for rape.
They allege Courtney Morgan and LaQuinta Tarbert took the victim to Morgan’s mother home in Tallassee.
Morgan’s mother took the stand Wednesday saying she believed the girl was 17-years-old and didn’t ask the pair why the girl was with them.
But, Morgan’s mother did say she lent her phone to the victim.
The 13-year-old did call her parents from that cell phone and said she was in trouble and to meet her at the police station.
Testimony in court revealed Morgan and Tarbert then “cleaned the 13- year-old up” at Morgan’s mother’s home and then allegedly took her back to Askew’s were she was further assaulted.
“Sex trafficking is a huge issue and getting bigger by the day. It’s here. With I-85 here, that’s what these folks look for easy access on and off. This group wasn’t a sophisticated organization like you typically see. They used this girl as long as they could and made as much money as they could off of her,” said Lee County DA Brandon Hughes.
Hughes said further arrests will be made in this case, including one they said acted like a guard in front of the door, so the 13- year-old couldn’t escape while she was being assaulted.
All four of them are being held in the Lee County Jail on a $100,000 bond.