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Lieutenant colonel charged in sex trafficking case

May. 30, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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A New Hampshire Army National Guard Officer has been charged in a sex trafficking case in which two underage girls were allegedly coerced into prostitution.

Lt. Col. Raymond Valas, 41, was arrested in Syracuse, New York, on May 19. An indictment filed in a Texas federal court charges him with one count of sex trafficking of children, by force, fraud or coercion, on Aug. 26, 2013.

Police found the two 15-year-old runaways at a San Antonio motel two months later, one of whom told authorities that she had been beaten, sexually assaulted and prostituted, according to a law enforcement affidavit.

Three others were charged with orchestrating the prostitution ring, one of whom is accused of enticing one girl with promises of money, then sexually assaulting her and using provocative photos to advertise her as an escort online.

Valas is reportedly accused of having sex with a minor one day last August.

Since 2013, Valas has been a student at the Syracuse University's Institute of Counter-Terrorism and National Security, placed there under the Army War College fellowship program. In 2012, he commanded 1,400 troops from several countries on a humanitarian assistance mission in El Salvador.

Lt. Col. Greg Heilshorn, public affairs officer for the New Hampshire National Guard, said Valas’ security clearance has been suspended.

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