CHICAGO — A federal jury today convicted a Chicago man on sex trafficking charges for arranging a commercial sex encounter for a 16-year-old girl that ended in the child’s murder in a south suburban garage.
JOSEPH HAZLEY, 35, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of a minor, one count of sex trafficking of a minor, and four counts of transporting a person across state lines for the purposes of prostitution.
The conviction is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman set sentencing for June 4, 2019.
The conviction was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Superintendent. Substantial assistance was provided by the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and Markham Police Department. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Parente and Kelly Greening.
Evidence at trial revealed that Hazley posted the girl’s information in commercial sex advertisements on Backpage.com, and arranged multiple meetings for her to engage in prostitution. Hazley drove the girl to several meetings in the Chicago area in December 2016.
One of the meetings occurred in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve, after a customer had responded to Hazley’s posting. Hazley drove the girl to Markham and waited in his car a few yards from the garage while she met with the customer. During the encounter, the customer allegedly murdered the girl.
The suspected customer was subsequently arrested by the Chicago Police Department and charged with murder in Cook County Criminal Court.
If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.