Ex-Arizona Lawmaker Claims That Sex Trafficking Does Not “Damage” Children

“I like being a daddy figure for the little girls when they sit on my lap."

AZ Central has reported former Arizona Representative David Stringer has made perturbing comments about child sex trafficking according to records from the state House of Representatives. Stringer resigned from his post last week due to allegations that he raped children in the 1980s.

During a speech from a Border Patrol agent at an event, Stringer also told Merissa Hamilton, an activist who protects victims of child trafficking, that child sex trafficking isn’t a problem. Hamilton recorded their conversation and live streamed it on Facebook.

In the conversation Stringer and Hamilton talk about what he should ask the speaker about. Hamilton said Stringer should ask about child trafficking.

In response, he said that sex trafficking wasn’t a concern. “I don’t like to demonize it,” he explained.

Stringer also said that although he doesn’t believe there is much child sex trafficking, there are “a lot of 15-year-old prostitutes.” Stringer’s 1980s charges include one accusation that Stringer paid for sex with a 15-year-old.

Hamilton and Stringer argued after the speech. Stringer allegedly defended child sex abuse. Hamilton informed investigators that Stringer didn’t believe there was any “damage from child sex trafficking. He said, "If an uncle takes his niece or nephew to a playground, and they go on the merry-go-round and have some ice cream, and then do their thing, that’s just part of the experience."

Hamilton said she was “shaken” by the argument.

Stringer’s comments about sex trafficking were included in a report released Wednesday by the House Ethics Committee.

Stringer resigned from his position on March 27. On March 29, the Ethics Committee released a police report which revealed that Stringer was arrested in 1983 when he was suspected of paying two young boys under the age of 15 to have sex with him. One of those boys had a developmental disability.

Stringer claims he was never convicted of a crime and the allegations “had no basis in fact.”

"What I will say is that the charges I faced in 1983 are as false today as they were 35 years ago," Stringer wrote in a Facebook post.

Although Stringer said he wasn’t convicted, court records reveal that he accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to five years of probation. Because the case was later expunged, few details about the case are known.

The Ethics Committee also released comments Stringer made to school administrators. Rosemary Agneessens, a leader of the Prescott Education Advocacy Council, shared some of the comments Stringer made about an internship where he helped third and fourth grade English Language Learning students.

Stringer allegedly said, “I like being a daddy figure for the little girls when they sit on my lap.”

Agneessens also shared a racist comment Stringer made to school administrators in 2017. Stringer told the group that “'Mexicans' and poor students should not be educated past the eighth grade, as this was a waste of education funding." Stringer also said that Mexicans and “special ed” students would never contribute to communities or the economy.

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