United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
TIMOTHY D. DEGIUSTI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the United States'
Unopposed Motion to Appoint a Guardian Ad Litem for
John Doe (“Doe”), the child sex trafficking
victim identified in the Indictment, pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 3509(h). For the reasons set forth herein and upon a
sufficient showing of good cause, the Court GRANTS the
to 18 U.S.C. § 3509(h)(1), the Court “may appoint,
and provide reasonable compensation and payment of expenses
for, a guardian ad litem for a child who was a victim of
… a crime involving abuse or exploitation to protect
the best interests of the child.” Once appointed, the
guardian ad litem “may attend all depositions,
hearings, and trial proceedings in which a child
participates, and make recommendations to the court
concerning the welfare of the child.” 18 U.S.C. §
3509(h)(2). Further, a guardian ad litem shall
“effectively advocate for the child” and
“marshal and coordinate the delivery of resources and
special services to a child.” Id.
“child” is defined by 18 U.S.C. §
3509(a)(2)(A) as “a person who is under the age of 18,
who is or is alleged to be a victim of a crime of physical
abuse, sexual abuse, or exploitation.” Although Doe is
now 18, the United States requests the appointment of a
guardian ad litem to represent him at the sentencing hearing,
to advise him of his rights, and to coordinate necessary
resources and services. In particular, the United States
recognizes the need of a guardian ad litem to advocate on
Doe's behalf regarding restitution.
offense of conviction occurred when Doe was 17 years old. It
appears from evidence in the record that Defendant and Doe
met when Doe was 16. Protections similar to those requested
by the United States have been granted in other cases
involving alleged sex trafficking in this district and
outside of this district. See e.g., United States v. Gum,
et al., No. CR-15-126-C [Doc. No. 111] (W.D. Okla. Nov.
17, 2015) (allowing a guardian ad litem to represent a child
sex trafficking victim after she had turned 18 because the
offense occurred while the victim was under the age of 18);
United States v. Gardner, No. CR-16-20135, 2016 WL
5404207, at *5-6 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 28, 2016) (ruling the
victim's identity should be protected where the victim
was 17 at the time of the alleged offense and 18 at the time
of trial); United States v. Harris, No. CR-14-76,
2016 WL 3190482, at *1 (E.D. Va. June 6, 2016) (finding
inherent authority under the First Amendment to protect
witnesses' identities who were no longer under the age of
18 at the time of their testimony); United States v.
Paris, No. CR-06-64, 2007 WL 1484974, at *2 (D. Conn.
May 18, 2007).
Paris, the court noted that “[w]hile the
Minors are no longer children, 18 U.S.C. § 3509(d)(3),
which authorizes courts to protect information about the
identities of minor victims of sex crimes, highlights the
public interest in protecting young victims of sex
crimes.” Paris, 2007 WL 1484974, at *2, n. 2.
Both the adult and minor victims in Paris were
permitted to testify using their first name and first initial
of their last names to protect their identities. Id.
in Gardner, the court found persuasive the precedent
allowing protections for victims of sex crimes, who were
minors at the time of the alleged crime but were over 18 at
the time of testimony. Gardner, 2016 WL 5404207, at
*6 (citing additional cases).
United States asserts that an extension of § 3509 rights
to a victim who is now 18, but was under 18 when the offense
occurred, is consistent with the definition of a
“juvenile” under the Juvenile Delinquency Act, 18
U.S.C. § 5031, et seq. Federal law defines a
“juvenile” as a person who commits an offense
prior to his eighteenth birthday and has not attained the age
of 21. 18 U.S.C. § 5031. A juvenile defendant is granted
additional rights, including the sealing of court proceedings
and records, a 30-day speedy trial clock, and segregation
from adult detainees. See 18 U.S.C. §§
5036, 5038, 5039.
the Court finds that appointment of a guardian ad litem to
Doe in this case is consistent with the narrow precedent,
outlined above, extending § 3509 rights to child victims
who attain the age of 18 during the prosecution, and the
definition of a “juvenile” under § 5031.
Further, Defendant does not object to such appointment.
HEREBY ORDERED that LeAnne Burnett is appointed as guardian
ad litem for Doe, the child victim identified in the
Indictment, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3509(h). The
guardian ad litem is appointed to protect the best interests
of Doe, to attend all depositions, hearings, and trial
proceedings in which Doe participates, and to make
recommendations to the Court concerning the welfare of Doe.
Further, the guardian ad litem is appointed to advocate for
Doe, and to marshal and coordinate the delivery of resources
and special services to Doe.
FURTHER ORDERED that the guardian ad litem may submit
invoices for reasonable compensation and payment of expenses
to the Court.
 Counsel for the United States
communicated via e-mail correspondence to the Court on May 2,
2018. Attached to the e-mail was a screenshot of a text
message exchange between counsel for the United States and
counsel for Defendant, in which Defendant's ...