A Maryland couple were charged on April 4 with giving a teenage girl heroin and forcing her into prostitution.
The Caroline County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Social Services-Child Protective Services Division, were notified of a child abuse allegation in January, reports the Daily Mail, citing the Caroline Circle.
According to Caroline County police, Paul Thomas Owen, 26, and Darlene Louise Allen, 35, were charged with a variety of offenses, including human trafficking, child abuse, reckless endangerment, neglect of minor, third-degree sex offense, sexual solicitation of a minor, sex abuse of a minor, possessing drugs other than marijuana, possessing drug administration equipment and possessing drug paraphernalia.
Owen and Allen allegedly injected the 15-year-old with heroin several times, and made her perform sex acts with men in exchange for money and drugs. Allen was also engaging in prostitution and Owen was having sex with the underage girl, according to police.
The alleged acts occurred while all three were staying at a hotel Dec. 17-20, 2016.
Also arrested was Lori Lynn Griffith, 43, whom police allege was involved and charged with neglect of a minor. She was served with a criminal summons on Feb. 3.
The State’s Attorney’s Office presented the case to a Caroline County Grand Jury who returned an indictment for both Owen and Allen, who are currently being held at the Caroline County Detention Center without bond, pending their trial dates.
The case of Owen and Allen recalls that of April Corcoran, a 32-year-old Cincinnati suburbanite who developed an addiction to heroin and prostituted her own 11-year-old daughter for drug money.
After pleaded guilty in June 2016 to charges that included complicity to rape, trafficking in persons, and corrupting another with drugs, Corcoran was sentenced to 51 years to life in prison, reported WKRC at the time.
These cases are part of the growing heroin epidemic in the U.S. Heroin-related deaths have nearly quadrupled nationwide in the past 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Formerly a problem confined mostly to urban areas, the demographics of heroin addiction have changed dramatically. From 2005 to 2015, almost 90 percent of first-time heroin users were white, an increasing number of them either from the middle class or wealthy, reports The New York Times.