A 30-year-old Memphis police officer had been arrested and charged by the FBI for allegedly transporting five women across the Mississippi state line in interstate commerce for purposes of prostitution, the US Attorney General's office said Monday.
Sean McWhirter is a five-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department and was serving as a patrolman at the time of his arrest.
According to the US Attorney's Office and the FBI, Patrolman McWhirter had agreed to transport three women across the Tennessee-Mississippi state line to Tunica on Sept. 13 for the purposes of prostitution.
Three days later on Sept. 16, while off duty McWhirter transported two more women from Memphis to a Tunica hotel, but upon entering the hotel room he was taken into custody by FBI special agents and task force officers, the US Attorney's office said.
"Human sex trafficking is a horrific crime that has a devastating impact on its victims and the community," said U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III. "What makes this case worse is that the alleged perpetrator is a law enforcement official who was sworn to protect and serve. Those who betray the public trust insult the integrity and honor of all law enforcement officials who risk their lives upholding the law."
Patrolman McWhirter made an initial appearance Monday before Magistrate Judge Charmaine G. Claxton.
"You would think the message would be loud and clear by now," said Police Director Toney
Armstrong. "We will do this as often as needed in order to rid this department of those who can't make up their minds as to whether they want to be a police officer or a thug."
McWhirter, who is assigned to the Union Station precinct as a patrol officer, is facing up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.