Memphis Police Officer Charged with Sex Trafficking
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 17, 2012|
MEMPHIS, TN—Sean McWhirter, 30, of Memphis, Tennessee, was charged today in a complaint alleging transportation of individuals in interstate commerce for the purpose of prostitution, in violation of 18 USC § 2421, announced United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III, and Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. McWhirter is a five-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department, who was serving as a patrolman at the time of his arrest.
On September 13, 2012, while on duty and in his patrol car, McWhirter agreed to transport three women to a location in Tunica, Mississippi, for the purpose of prostitution. Subsequently, on September 16, 2012, while off duty, McWhirter delivered two women from Memphis, Tennessee, to a hotel in Tunica, Mississippi. Upon entering the room with the women, McWhirter was arrested by special agents and task force officers of the FBI. McWhirter’s initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Charmaine G. Claxton was held today, September 17, 2012.
“Human sex trafficking is a horrific crime that has a devastating impact on its victims and the community,” said U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III. “What makes this case worse is that the alleged perpetrator is a law enforcement official who was sworn to protect and serve. Those who betray the public trust insult the integrity and honor of all law enforcement officials who risk their lives upholding the law.”
“When a police officer is charged with violating the law, it harms the integrity of all law enforcement,” said Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure justice prevails in this matter.”
“You would think the message would be loud and clear by now. We will do this as often as needed in order to rid this department of those who can’t make up their minds as to whether they want to be a police officer or a thug,” said Memphis Police Department Director Toney Armstrong.
The penalty for this violation is no more than 10 years in federal prison and a fine of no more than $250,000.
This crime was investigated by the Tarnished Badge Task Force, which is comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Memphis Police Department, and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian K. Coleman on behalf of the government.