Local News

Online classifieds behind series of Parkton rapes

Posted December 16, 2013 5:44 p.m. EST
Updated December 16, 2013 6:36 p.m. EST

— Four women have been raped in the small Robeson County town of Parkton since late November, and authorities say the crimes occurred when the women responded to online classified ads.

All of the victims came from neighboring Cumberland County to a mobile home on Lariat Court in response to ads on backpage.com, Robeson County Sheriff Ken Sealey said. When they arrived, they were held at gunpoint and forced to drive to a secluded area along nearby Blue Road, where they were assaulted, Sealey said.

In addition to the four women who were raped, two other women and two men were kidnapped and assaulted, Sealey said. The incidents occurred between Nov. 28 and Dec. 11.

Alphonso Chacon, 31, of 79 Lariat Court, has been charged with rape, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree sexual offense, felony conspiracy and robbery with a deadly weapon in connection with an alleged Dec. 11 sexual assault of a 17-year-old. He is being held in the Robeson County Detention Center under a $100,000 bond.

Up to three other men may also be involved in the crimes, the sheriff said, but he said the public isn't in any danger. More arrests and charges are expected.

Robeson County investigators are working with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office to determine whether the women were responding to ads seeking sex.

"That's what it's looking like, but I can't say that for sure," Sealey said.

The adult entertainment section of backpage.com has drawn controversy. Law enforcement officials across the country say it's often used for sex trafficking.

An attorney for the website said that the operators work strenuously to prevent illegal activities.

Children's scooters were lying in Chacon's yard on Monday, and nearby residents said they were stunned by the allegations against him.

"When I heard about it, it was so shocking to me because I wouldn't think anything like that would happen down here," Isaiah Gordon said. "This neighborhood is peaceful. This is a peaceful neighborhood. You don't have a lot of problems."

A mother of four who lives across the street, who declined to give her name, said she found it disturbing to know something like that could happen "right under your nose."