CENTENNIAL, Colo. - An employee with Aurora Public Schools has been arrested, accused of patronizing a prostituted child he found through a Backpage.com advertisement.
Gary D. Campbell was one of eight men who were arrested last Friday, the district attorney's office announced Monday.
It's not clear what Campbell did for APS but "there are no further allegations of any alleged criminal conduct by Mr. Campbell at his place of employment or elsewhere," the DA's office said.
"These allegations are shocking, and we take any reports seriously," the school district said in a written statement. "We have confirmed that Gary Campbell is a district employee whose job duties do not allow him the opportunity to be alone with students. Due to privacy laws, we are unable to discuss these allegations further."
The district explained that Campbell was a General Education Support Clerk since 1994. They also clarified that he worked in a district office and not in a school.
The seven other men in the case were identified as Phillip Alex Lovato, Michael Quarm, Rene Perez Varela, Celso Ordonez Rascon, John Gregory Dosch, Donald Wesley Allen Lyle and Mark Anthony Soliman.
Mug shots for five of the eight men were available Monday afternoon.
They are all charged with patronizing a prostituted child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. All of the men responded to a Backpage.com advertisement, the DA's office said.
The investigation began when an Aurora police investigator found the 17-year-old girl at a Super 8 Motel at East 6th Avenue, near Interstate 225, on Jan. 8, said District Attorney George Brauchler.
The investigator worked backwards to find the eight men who paid for sex acts with the girl between Dec. 20, 2012 and Jan. 8, 2013, Brauchler said.
"Protecting Colorado's children is a priority for all of us in law enforcement. In many of these cases homeless and poor children are vulnerable to exploitation and we will stand up for them when they are put in harm’s way and victimized," Brauchler said.
In a heavily redacted arrest affidavit, an Aurora police detective describes how an undercover officer called a phone number from the Backpage.com advertisement and spoke with a female who answered the phone. The officer, posing as a customer, arranged to meet the girl later that night at a Motel 8.
Once in the room, the undercover officer told the girl he was with the police, but said he was there to investigate the prostitution operation -- not to arrest her. The girl said she was 17 years old and was staying in the room with a 20-year-old man, who she said was her pimp, the affidavit said.
The officer told her to text the man and ask him to return to the motel room. When the man knocked on the door, an officer opened it and the man, seeing several officers with badges, ran from the motel, police said. After a foot chase, an officer caught the man as he attempted to climb over a fence.
The accused pimp was arrested and booked into jail on one count of pimping a child, the affidavit said. His bond was set at $50,000. Brauchler said authorities have not yet released the name or photograph of the accused pimp, because he could be part of a bigger investigation.
The teen girl told police she is intimidated by her pimp, adding that he is "just worried about the money" she makes as a prostitute, the affidavit said. She said the pimp often suspected that she was withholding customers' money from him and if he found any money on her, he would "snatch it from me," the affidavit said.
In the motel room, police said they found a bag containing the girl's high school work books and clothing. They also found a box of condoms.
This case arose out of a joint investigation by the Aurora Police Department and Denver's FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets/Innocence Lost Task Force.