Updated below: The department says staffers like Moton are issued vans "to transport children."
We recently learned what L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services employees aren't doing on the job -- namely, protecting kids from harm -- and now we might have a better idea of what they're doing instead.
Mark Anthony Moton, a 42-year-old employee at the department, was among 26 drivers caught in a massive LAPD prostitution sting yesterday along the Valley's most notorious boulevard, cops tell the LA Daily News.
He was reportedly driving an official county car at the time.
So technically, if LAPD officers hadn't been there to corner him, Moton might have invited some streetwalker into a taxpayer-funded vehicle and had his way with her yesterday. And we never would have known!
Moton apparently received an "outstanding team staff award" from department heads in February 2010. The bulletin describes his job duties as such:
The San Fernando Valley Human Service Aid (HSA) workers always put forth an extra effort and are unwavering in their dedication to our foster youth. They exhibit a "can do" attitude and a willingness to help whenever they are needed.
They regularly provide assistance with the SFV Prom Prep, Holiday on the Lot
and numerous activities for foster youth. ... They are dedicated workers who have gone the extra mile to ensure that our youth are safe and also make a difference in their lives. They are greatly valued by the San Fernando Valley office and deserving of the February 2010 Team DERA award.
If the allegations against Moton are true, it seems his dedication to foster youth doesn't extend to the sex slaves of Sun Valley.
The team of 80 police officers who conducted the 24-hour sting along Lankershim Boulevard are off-duty today, says a cop at the Foothill Station. But when the Weekly has investigated other prostitution stings within L.A. County, officers have told us that in order to nab potential sex-solicitors, female officers actually dress up like street whores and barter with interested parties. Once a deal has been reached, cops waiting in the wings swoop in for an arrest.
On that note, hilarious tidbit from the Daily News piece:
Dan Schumacher, owner of the Muds Classic Parts & Restoration on Lankershim, believes the LAPD stings need to be altered because the undercover officers are far better-looking than the actual prostitutes.
Update: DCFS spokesman Armend Montiel says the department's initial response will be to "find out as much as we can and as soon as we can regarding the circumstances of the arrest." From there, officials will "do whatever we think is necessary to ensure our children's safety."
Montiel stresses that because Moton has not been convicted of anything yet, it's too soon to predict what kind of action might be taken against him.
View Larger Map
And even if Moton is found to be guilty of trolling for whores -- "I cant say that an employee convicted of these actions would be terminated. But I would definitely say that termination would be one of the considerations whenever an employee engages in illegal activity, including solicitation."
Moton is a "human services aid" at the San Fernando Valley child-services station. The grossest part about the allegations against him is that, according to Montiel, his duties "could entail transporting a child to court."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Montiel says that aid workers like Moton "ordinarily drive a county van for transportation services. ... Primarily, the vans are to transport children."
Here are some more suspects arrested in yesterday's sting, via the Daily News:
- Juan Banuelos, 39, Summit, IL
- Saribek Pogyosyan, 52, Van Nuys
- Arthur Ulrich, 54, Burbank
- Edik Hazarian, 51, Glendale
- Salvador Hernandez, 45, North Hollywood
- Stepan Karapetyan, 62, North Hollywood
- Juan Lucas, 60, North Hollywood
- Isaac Nava, 32, Pacoima
- Alejandro Aguirre, 35, North Hollywood
- Jose Carcamo, 55, Panorama City
- Martin Ramos, 33, Pacoima
- Nicolas Palomino, 48, Mission Hills
- Esikio Solorio, 26, Sun Valley
- Dupree Fuller, 36, Reseda
- Jorge Giron De Leon, 27, Los Angeles