4 life sentences for human trafficker

American national found guilty of heinous crimes against 4 minors
4 life sentences for human trafficker
Photo credit to Pixabay

FOLLOWING eight years of trial, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 33 of Davao City has rendered a decision in the case of American national John F. Stanfield, also known as Bill Rush. Stanfield has been found guilty on multiple counts of heinous crimes, including four counts of qualified trafficking in persons, five counts of rape through sexual assault, one count of attempted rape, and four counts of child abuse. 

His victims were four minor Filipino children, the youngest being just five years old at the time of the offenses.

Presiding Judge Zarah Aguisando-Silvosa handed down the sentence, reflecting the severity of the crimes committed by Stanfield. 

Stanfield has been sentenced to four life imprisonment terms, coupled with a maximum of 89 years in prison. In addition, he faces a substantial fine totaling P8,000,000 and has been ordered to pay the victim-survivors an aggregate of Php3,850,000 as civil damages.

Stanfield's Filipina girlfriend, Leilanie Legal Brion, who goes by the alias Girlie Reyes, was also involved in the case. 

Brion entered into a plea bargaining agreement on December 13, 2019 and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of Attempted Trafficking in Persons, acknowledging her involvement in the commission of the crimes against the four minor victims. 

She has been sentenced to a maximum of 28 years of imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of P500,000, and to pay the victim-survivors a total of P320,000 as civil damages. 

The arrests of Stanfield and Brion took place without a warrant on January 2, 2015, following a report by one of the victim-survivors to the Talomo Police Station, immediately after enduring abuse by the accused duo.

The victims-survivors were aged 13, 8, and 5 during the time of the commission of the crime.

The first victim was DDD (real name withheld to protect their identity), 8 years old at that time. Accordingly, from April to December 2014, after befriending DDD’s mother, Brion and Stanfield were able to take the victim with them on the pretext of taking her to the mall and giving her money and toys but were instead repeatedly sexually abused within this period.

The same also happened to their second and third victim, who were aged 8 and 5 years old at that time.

Their last victim, AAA, who was 13 at that time was enticed, recruited, and employed by Brion and Stanfield to work as a guardian of other minor children on January 1, 2015. However, upon arrival at the home of both Brion and Stanfield, AAA was sexually assaulted by the two and was made to watch pornographic videos, including child sexual abuse and exploitation materials.

Following the arrest of the two, a comprehensive investigation was undertaken by the operatives of the Talomo Police Station and the members of the Region 11 Anti-Trafficking Task Force of the Department of Justice (DOJ), leading to the filing of additional charges for qualified trafficking in persons, rape, and child abuse.

Speaking about the case, Regional Prosecutor Janet Grace Dalisay-Fabrero, who heads the DOJ-Iacat-RATTF 11, conveyed her gratefulness for the tireless dedication and unwavering commitment of the prosecution team who pursued justice for the victim-survivors. 

"The prosecution team’s tireless commitment to protecting the rights and well-being of the victim-survivors is a testament to the highest ideals of the legal profession," Dalisay-Fabrero said.

The prosecution team is composed of Deputy Regional Prosecutor Barbara Mae Flores as the lead prosecutor and Provincial Prosecutor Marte Melchor S. Velasco, Deputy Regional Prosecutor Karl Andre G. Salcedo, Senior Assistant Regional Prosecutor Robert Michael N. Razon, Assistant City Prosecutor Rizza Mae H. Sam, and Deputy City Prosecutor Leah Fe Carrillo-San Juan as assisting prosecutors. 

Atty. Flores expressed hope that this conviction would serve as a powerful deterrent to foreign sexual predators, underscoring the seriousness of the Philippine government's commitment to safeguarding children and ensuring that the country will not be a haven for foreign sexual predators. 

She further hopes that the verdict will bring some measure of closure to the victim-survivors and alleviate their suffering. With IACAT-11 PR


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