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Man accused of performing sex act with missing Fall River girl pleads not guilty

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A Washington man who allegedly took a missing Fall River teenager on a bus trip to Seattle and also performed a sex act with her pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court in Boston.

Jabarie Phillips, a/k/a Jabarie Lindsey, 41, of Seattle, , was charged with one count of sexual exploitation of children. Phillips is currently in state custody on related charges.

It is alleged that in April 2019, Phillips and a 14-year-old girl began communicating via Facebook. Phillips, knowing the girl’s age, repeatedly asked her to take sexually explicit videos and photos of herself for him to view. During their communications, the minor told Phillips she had issues with her family, to which Phillips allegedly responded: “If you run away let me know we can take this show on the road I need a partner in crime.” The minor subsequently met Phillips at Logan Airport, where they then traveled to South Station to catch a bus to Seattle, Wash.

Phillips was arrested in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 3, 2019, on two warrants – one out of Washington State for probation violation (he had recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for a 2008 conviction for manslaughter) and one out of Massachusetts for kidnapping.

According to the Boston Herald, the child involved told investigators Phillips that the sex act on Phillips took place while on the bus. Court documents revealed that the minor was picked up by an Uber driver in Fall River and dropped off at Logan International Airport. Video surveillance at the airport showed Phillips and the girl embrace.

The charge of sexual exploitation of children provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn; and Fall River Police Chief Albert F. Dupere made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Holik, Chief of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit, is prosecuting the case.

The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

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