Soldier now faces federal charges

A Fort Lewis sergeant accused of prostituting two teenage girls now faces federal charges.

Federal prosecutors have charged Sgt. Sterling Terrance Hospedales, 26, in U.S. District Court with sex trafficking of a child and attempted sex trafficking of a child, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday.

He has yet to enter a plea in the case and remained in custody at the federal detention center in SeaTac.

Hospedales, an infantryman originally from Florida, was charged in April in Pierce County Superior Court with two counts of first-degree promoting prostitution. He’d been confined at the Pierce County Jail, awaiting trial.

County prosecutors dismissed the charges Friday to make way for the federal charges.

A federal task force that focuses on sex trafficking of children investigated Hospedales after getting a tip about a teenage runaway from Seattle who was posting ads on Craigslist, the online classified advertising site.

The ad indicated the teen was involved in prostitution, prosecutors said.

Investigators found the 17-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl from Wyoming.

The older teen told investigators she worked as a prostitute in an apartment Hospedales’ got for her. She also said he helped her post advertisements online and that she gave him the money she earned.

The younger girl told investigators Hospedales paid for her plane ticket to Washington from Wyoming.

“The second girl stated that she had only been in town a week, and had taken pictures to post on Craigslist for prostitution purposes, but had not started earning money for Hospedales,” federal prosecutors said in a news release.

If convicted of the federal charges, Hospedales faces from 10 years to life in prison, $250,000 in fines and five years of supervised release.

At the time of his arrest, Hospedales was assigned to the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team and had been stationed at Fort Lewis since March 2005.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268