Greenbelt man accused of forcing 14-year-old to perform sex acts for drugs

September 21, 2013

A Greenbelt man has been arrested and charged with human trafficking and related counts after a 14-year-old girl told investigators he forced her to have sex with him for drugs, authorities said.

Ronald W. Cheek, 43, was arrested and formally charged Wednesday after police found him, another woman and the 14-year-old girl at a La Plata hotel, authorities said. Cheek is charged with a bevy of criminal counts including human trafficking, second-degree rape and crack cocaine possession, and police said he is being held on a no-bond status in Charles County.

Sgt. Marc Black, a Maryland State Police spokesman, said Maryland investigators were first tipped to Cheek’s alleged crimes after their counterparts in Virginia asked them to check for a missing 14-year-old who they believed might be at a hotel in the 9400 block of Chesapeake Street in La Plata.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the 14-year-old girl and another teenage girl had walked away from a Hallmark Youthcare facility for at-risk children in Goochland County on Sept. 13. The other girl, she said, turned herself into police on Saturday.

Black said Maryland troopers went to the hotel Tuesday and found the 14-year-old and another woman. The 14-year-old told investigators that she had been traveling with Cheek, and he forced her to perform sex acts for crack cocaine, authorities said. Black said the girl had initially gone with him willingly, but that the sex acts were “definitely unwanted.”

Police soon located and arrested Cheek, who had crack cocaine in his possession, authorities said. Black said the woman was being treated as a “witness” in the case and declined to provide more information about her relationship to Cheek or the 14-year-old.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.
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