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Chicago cop paid teen runaways for sex. Out-of-state condoms made it a federal crime, records say

A Chicago police officer faces at least 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to federal human trafficking of a minor charges for having sex with a 14-year-old girl using condoms from out of Illinois, which helped make federal charges possible in the crime, court records said.
A Chicago police officer faces at least 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to federal human trafficking of a minor charges for having sex with a 14-year-old girl using condoms from out of Illinois, which helped make federal charges possible in the crime, court records said. AP Photo/Teresa Crawford File

After a Chicago cop paid a 14-year-old girl for sex in 2015, the girl told federal investigators intimate, granular details about their encounters — including the exact types of condoms he used: LifeStyles condoms and Trojan Magnum condoms in gold wrappers, court records said.

It may seem like a trivial detail that William Whitley, 61, used one type of condom over another. But an FBI criminal complaint against the 20-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department points to the brands’ relevance. The Trojan Magnum and LifeStyles condoms Whitley used to commit the crime came from outside Illinois, where the crime occurred — meaning his “conduct affected interstate commerce,” the complaint said.

That interstate element (in addition to Whitley’s use of a phone and other factors) made it possible to charge him in federal court, where Whitley pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of sex trafficking a minor, according to court records.

Had Whitley not been charged at the federal level, he may have faced a state sentence less harsh than the mandatory 10-year minimum sentence that federal sex trafficking charges carry, the Chicago Tribune reports — which could explain why prosecutors sought federal charges. Whitley’s plea deal even says that he “acknowledges that Trojan condoms and LifeStyles condoms are manufactured outside the state of Illinois.”

Just as out-of-state guns can justify federal rather than state charges, so, too, could out-of-state condoms, experts told the newspaper.

“The gun traveling is analagous to the condom traveling,” Juliet Sorensen, a Northwestern University law professor, told the Tribune. “The person who pulled the trigger may not have traveled, but the gun did. This police officer may not have traveled, but an aspect that he used to commit the crime did.”

Whitley will be sentenced on Sept. 4, the Sun-Times reports. He faces at least 10 years in prison, and could face up to life.

Whitley said he didn’t know the girl was only 14 when he had sex with her, according to court records. The teen girl had told Whitley she was 23 during their multiple sexual encounters in 2015. Investigators suggested the braces on the 14-year-old’s teeth could have been a hint about her real age.

Whitley maintained in court that braces “don’t dictate a person’s age,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Whitley invited the 14-year-old girl to have sex with him at his apartment from June to September 2015, court records said. During the encounters, Whitley left his Chicago Police Department uniform hanging from his bedroom door, she said — and he even bragged about being a cop. Whitley also had a loaded firearm stashed under his pillow in bed, court records said.

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Whitley used his smartphone to take sexually-explicit photos of the girl at his apartment, she told investigators. Authorities found the photos (which Whitley had texted to to the girl) when they searched the girl’s phone. And when investigators searched Whitley’s apartment, they discovered the same type of leopard print bedding that had been visible in the naked pictures, court records said.

The October 2015 search of Whitley’s home also revealed contacts on his phone — “Jasmine,” “Bunny,” “Brittany Aka Mocha” and “Star” — with whom Whitley was discussing prices and meeting times, suggesting he was engaged in prostitution with them, court records said. Investigators also found the kind of Trojan Magnum gold condom wrappers the girl had described.

Beyond the 14-year-old victim, Whitley was also paying a 16-year-old runaway for sex, he admitted in his plea agreement. Whitley had originally met the 16-year-old girl at a party where older men were paying young runaways for sex, the 16-year-old told authorities.

Later, Whitley spotted the girl walking though Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood with a friend, court records said. Whitley pulled up next to them and asked the girl if she wanted to get in the car for a ride with him and “his partner” — which she believed meant he was a police officer, the girl told investigators. The girl got in the car, where Whitley was in the driver’s seat and the “partner” was in the passenger’s seat.

As they were driving, Whitley paid the girl $65 to perform oral sex on him, she told investigators. After that, Whitley became “one of her primary commercial sex customers,” court records said.

When the 16-year-old had been with Whitley for some time, she began giving his phone number out to friends so they could also have sex with Whitley for money, court records said.

Chicago police took away Whitley's police powers in September 2015, the Sun-Times reports.

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