ALEXANDRIA (AP) An Alexandria lawyer has been charged with sex trafficking of minors after authorities say he paid numerous underage high school girls for sex.
Charges were unsealed Nov. 19 in federal court in Alexandria against Matthew J. Erausquin, with an Arlington residential address.
According to a Fairfax County Police affidavit, the investigation began in May 2019 when a high school student reported to police that a man in his 40s had paid two victims $1,000 for a threesome.
The affidavit states that victims ages 16 and 17 from three local high schools engaged in commercial sexual activity with Erausquin. He allegedly paid the girls about $800 for each visit.
He met some of his victims through a website called seekingarrangement.com that connects “sugar daddies” with “sugar babies.”
The girls represented that they were age 18 or older. But the affidavit states he had reason to know the girls were underage, including the fact that one still had braces on her teeth. In addition, the affidavit states he learned some of the girls’ real ages after they turned 18 and was not surprised to learn they had been underage when they first engaged in sexual activity. In one instance in 2019, Uber records tied to Erausquin allegedly show a trip from a high school to Erausquin’s Arlington apartment.
Erausquin is expected to be represented by Frank Salvato of Alexandria and Christopher Amolsch of Reston.
“From the affidavit, it appears Mr. Erasquin was systematically lied to over a period of months by young women pretending to be of age who advertised themselves on a website that boasts of sophisticated artificial intelligence technology that monitors profiles to prevent underage sex trafficking. For the government to seek charges that contain mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment of 10 or more years seems onerous,” Salvato said in a Nov. 20 email.
Leonard A. Bennett, another CLA founding partner, said the firm learned of the charges against Erausquin Nov. 19.
“For the benefit of those clients we represent – consumers who are themselves taken advantage of, vulnerable and hurt – we have formally and immediately separated our law firm from Matt’s,” Bennett said. He said Erausquin owned an affiliated firm, Consumer Litigation Associates NOVA PC.
“Matt was active in a limited number of our cases and we and our clients are today moving to substitute him out,” Bennett said Nov. 20. “We have retained independent ethics counsel to assist in ensuring and confirming that the allegations as to Matt’s personal life remain disconnected from any of the work and operations of this law firm … and its attorneys and staff.”
“We are saddened and will remain bewildered now and maybe forever,” Bennett added.
Additional reporting by VLW. Updated Nov. 20 to add details and to include the statements of Salvato and Bennett.