(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
OAN’s Abril Elfi
5:21 PM – Thursday, August 17, 2023
A Marine was charged by military prosecutors with sexual abuse of a child, after a missing 14-year-old girl was discovered in his barracks at Camp Pendleton. The suspect claims the two met on Tinder.
The first hearing for the Marine who was identified as Private First Class Avery L. Rosario was held on Thursday. According to his lawyers, Rosario had met the 14-year-old on Tinder, a platform for casual dating and hookups, where she claimed to be 21-years-old.
According to the defense, they started exchanging messages on the platform. They also claimed she started the conversation and requested that it be moved to Instagram, where she gave Rosario her username.
On June 28th, Rosario was detained after the missing teen was found on base near Oceanside, California.
She was discovered two weeks after her grandmother had reported her missing.
It was revealed at the hearing that Rosario is accused of sexually assaulting a minor between the ages of 12 and 16.
A Tinder profile, an Instagram profile, and screenshots of text messages involving Rosario were among the evidence the government prosecutors also displayed.
Rosario’s defense showed a recorded conversation between him and the victim that occurred between June 26th and June 28th.
The defense claims that when the interaction between the two started, the teen suggested they get a hotel room.
Reportedly, Rosario picked the teen up and they had consensual sexual intercourse on base. They continue by stating that when questioned by authorities she admitted that her Tinder profile said she was 21 and reportedly had a part in her bio that said “I know I look young but hey when I’m 30 I’ll look like I’m in my twenties.”
They claimed that when Rosario asked her if she was 21 in an Instagram message, she replied that she was actually 22.
The defense also cited claims made by the girl during her questioning with law enforcement, among them, “That was my whole plan,” in relation to being apprehended at the military base because she was “finally safe.”
According to the defense, the child claimed that a man named Hector had been sex trafficking her for about a year. They also stated that Rosario had no connection to Hector in any way.
Reportedly the teen was found asleep under the covers with the TV on in the barracks.
The grandmother who had reported her missing had allegedly claimed she had run away before but always came back.
Additionally, Rosario is also facing charges relating to a different case.
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