Myron Irby, 29, of Duluth has been indicted by a federal grand jury and arraigned in federal court in Atlanta on charges of sex trafficking a 16-year-old runaway girl.
On at least two occasions in 2011, Irby allegedly benefitted financially from the commercial sex acts of his “girlfriend,” then a 16-year-old runaway, according to U.S. Attorney Sally Yates, the charges and other information presented in court.
The U.S. Attorney’s office issued a media release following Irby’s arraignment Friday (Nov. 2) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker. He had been indicted by a federal grand jury Oct. 23 for sex trafficking of a minor and attempted sex trafficking of a minor.
Irby and the young girl came to the attention of law enforcement during a June 24, 2011, traffic stop in Kennesaw. She was scantily dressed and advised officers that Irby was a family member. After finding out the girl was a runaway, she was taken to a local treatment facility.
Subsequently, Internet advertisements soliciting sex clients for the girl that contained photographs of her were discovered on the website Backpage.com. During interviews, the girl admitted that she posted the advertisements and that Irby had driven her to Kennesaw to engage in commercial sex with a client, according to the press release.
She also reportedly revealed that Irby was her boyfriend, that Irby knew her real age, that she lived with Irby for several weeks, and that she engaged in acts of prostitution with and without Irby’s knowledge so that she could contribute to household finances.
In July 2011, the Cobb County Police Department interviewed Irby and informed him that the girl was a minor.
The girl ran away from the treatment facility where she was housed in October 2011. While trying to locate the girl, law enforcement again found Backpage.com advertisements soliciting sex clients for her. She was recovered after investigators arranged for her to meet an undercover officer posing as a client at a hotel in Sandy Springs. When the girl arrived at the hotel, she was accompanied by Irby, who was taken into custody.
During a check of Irby’s cell phone, investigators reportedly found text messages where Irby told the girl that he did not have any money, and the girl responded that she would “post another ad” to help him with his finances.
“This case demonstrates that there is no ‘stereotypical’ sex trafficking offender,” Yates said in the press release. “Traffickers range from violent abusers to subtle manipulators who prey upon those whose life circumstances make them vulnerable. Unfortunately, in some cases, the offender shares a close relationship with the victim, such as a spouse, significant other, or family member, making the victim even more susceptible to the offender’s manipulations. No matter how or by whom the crime is perpetrated, sex trafficking is indefensible, and everyone who engages in it must be held accountable.”
Each of the charges against Irby carry a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider guidelines that provide appropriate sentencing ranges.
Irby’s case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the FBI’s Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes the Atlanta Police Department, the Cobb County Police Department, the Fulton County Police Department, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Gwinnett County Police Department, the City of Marietta Police Department, and the Sandy Springs Police Department.
~ Duluth Patch