Former soldier charged in Fort Worth trafficking case

Posted Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- A former soldier was charged Thursday with human trafficking and sexual assault of a child after police say he gave alcohol and drugs to a 14-year-old girl he'd picked up from a mall, had sex with her, and then later made her strip and have sex for money.

Nathan Tatarko, 30, of Fort Worth, faces charges of trafficking a person under age 18, a first-degree felony, and sexual assault of a child, a second-degree felony.

A friend of Tatarko's, 26-year-old Elliott T. Reed of Benbrook, was charged Wednesday with sexual assault of a child for having sex with the underage girl.

Police said the girl had been dropped off at Ridgmar Mall on Aug. 11 and was walking outside in the rain when Tatarko pulled up and asked her if she wanted to get inside. Though she did not know Tatarko, the girl agreed, said Sgt. Pedro Criado, a police spokesman.

Criado said Tatarko gave the girl alcohol and later took her to a house to visit Reed. There, the trio did drugs and both men had sex with the girl, Criado said.

Over the next couple of days, Tatarko then drove the girl to various gaming businesses where he had her strip for customers for money, Criado said. He later took the girl to a gas station, where he had her solicit sex for money from a man, Criado said.

Criado said the girl followed Tatarko's orders and gave the money she earned to Tatarko.

On Aug. 13, the girl was still with Tatarko when Fort Worth police pulled him over on a traffic stop, Criado said.

Told by Tatarko to lie about her name and age, the girl identified was identified through fingerprints, Criado said. Once separated from Tatarko, Criado said the girl admitted to police what had taken place.

Tatarko previously served in the Army and had been deployed twice to the Middle East, once to Iraq and more recently to Afghanistan, according to his Facebook and MySpace profiles. His MySpace page includes several photographs taken during his Army career, including one of him posing with Sarah Palin at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.

Tarrant County records show Tatarko was charged last month with burglary of a vehicle and possession of a controlled substance.

According to a police report of the case, a man said he saw someone in a black Dodge Challenger or Charger steal a chainsaw from the bed of his pickup Aug. 4. The man was down the street and ran toward the truck but the driver sped away. The man told police he managed to break the suspect's back window by throwing a beer bottle at the fleeing car.

On Aug. 16, police patrolling a motel in west Fort Worth known for drug activity spotted a black Dodge Challenger with a back window broken out. Tatarko was arrested and later charged with burglary of a vehicle and possession of methamphetamines.

He had been out on bond when he was arrested last week on the more recent charges. He remained in the Mansfield jail Thursday with bail set at $200,000.

Reed was also arrested last week and remains in the Tarrant County Jail with bail set at $100,000.

The lead investigator on the case was Fort Worth police Detective Manny Reyes, who is assigned to the North Texas Trafficking Task Force.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

Ridgmar Mall, Fort Worth, TX
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