Warning for parents after man sentenced for raping, menacing 14-year-old girl
Authorities issued a warning for parents after a Washington County man was sentenced in a child rape case. Prosecutors said it's a disturbing reminder that you need to watch what your children are doing online.
The victim in the case was a 14-year-old girl. Prosecutors said it all started when she met two men through a dating website. They also said a mailman may have helped save the girl's life.
"For parents, there's a danger for kids online," Washington County Deputy District Attorney Allison Brown told KATU on Wednesday.
She said in November of last year the 14-year-old met a man named John Wirtz through the dating website Plenty of Fish.
"The two of them communicated about meeting up to have sex for money," said Brown. "And that individual picked her up at her home and drove her to his house."
At the time Brown said Wirtz shared a home in the Bethany area with a then 20-year-old man named Muizz Sosna.
"She had sex with both the defendants," explained Brown, saying the men wouldn't let her leave. "Muizz Sosna, he threatened her with a gun and it scared her so much that she ran out into the street and flagged down a mailman for help. And then police got involved and arrested both of the defendants."
The mailman called 911.
In July, Wirtz pleaded guilty to second-degree sex abuse and third-degree rape.
Sosna was convicted of third-degree rape, menacing and unlawful use of a weapon. On Tuesday. he was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender.
"So many kids have cell phones now with a lot of unlimited access and we've got predators that are online looking to target the children," Brown said. "I would be aware of your child's access. Look at their phone, look at their applications, if they're on dating websites, if they're on social media applications. Just talk to them and don't be afraid to look through their phone and just be aware of who they're communicating with."
Neither Sosna nor Wirtz have previous criminal records.
Plenty of Fish did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment Wednesday afternoon.
Regarding how the girl wound up prostituting herself, Brown said, "She had a difficult upbringing as a kid. She'd run away from home. Her parents weren't really in the picture."
Brown said she's especially grateful for the actions of the mailman because often cases like these can be tough to investigate. But she said they're becoming more common.
"I'm seeing a rise just because of awareness now that we're aware of what is going on and that it's something that we need to proactively combat by investigating cases, having detectives trained and doing sting operations," Brown explained.
Brown leads Washington County's new sex trafficking task force, which launched in March. It involves local law enforcement agencies and Safety Compass, a survivor advocacy group.