SHARPES, Florida — On April 13, 2012, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation targeting individuals who were soliciting for prostitution utilizing social media sites. The investigation led to the arrest of three individuals, 30-year-old Jessica Sockabasin and a juvenile female for the solicitation to commit prostitution, and 21-year-old Phillip Johnson for Deriving Proceeds from Prostitution. Of significance, the juvenile female was identified as a runaway from the Orlando area.
The investigation additionally led to the arrest of 38-year-old Reginal Hardy who was present with the juvenile. The investigation determined that Hardy had been allegedly engaging in sexual activity with the minor, was transporting the minor to locations to engage in prostitution where he would collect the proceeds, and had physically battered the juvenile where she had required medical attention.
The juvenile advised that she had known Hardy since she was approximately 14 years old, shortly after his release from the Bureau of Prisons. Hardy, who was released from federal prison in approximately July of 2009, after serving approximately 17 years for Drug Trafficking, was arrested for Procuring a Person Under the Age of 18 for Prostitution and Unlawful Sexual Activity With Certain Minors. Hardy was transported to the Brevard County Jail under a $20,000 bond, however the First Appearance Judge reduced the bond to $15,000 earlier today.
The juvenile’s injuries were identified as bite wounds on her back and scratches and bruising around her neck. The juvenile was released to the custody of Crosswinds Youth Services where she can be reunited with her family. Sockabasin and Johnson were transported to the Brevard County Jail on a $500 and $1000 bond respectively.
Sheriff Jack Parker stated in a press release, “There is no doubt that without the aggressive enforcement efforts of our agents that this child would still be dangerously enslaved in the child exploitation industry. Our SORT Agents are working closely with the United States Attorney’s Office and ICE to ensure the safety of our children and that these predators are prosecuted.”
Anyone with information about the investigation is urged to call the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office SORT Unit at 321-633-8407 or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).
All calls to CRIMELINE are confidential, and callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward for information leading to an arrest.