Two soldiers admit sleeping with 12-year-old they met on an app for Black men and women

Source: BLK Facebook

Christian Bright

The Manhattan Mercury, Kan.

Two Fort Riley soldiers on Monday pled guilty to aggravated indecent solicitation after 2020 incidents with a girl posing as an adult on a dating app.

Tavian Tishun Garrett, 25, of Fort Riley, pleaded guilty Monday afternoon in Riley County District Court in front of Judge Kendra Lewison. Garrett also was initially charged with five counts of rape and five counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, but those charges were dropped in exchange for the plea.

The crimes took place between Aug. 1, 2020, and Oct. 23, 2020.

During his plea, Garrett said he downloaded an app called BLK and began talking to the girl, who was 12. Garrett will appear next on Sept. 6 to schedule his sentencing date.

The girl testified in an earlier hearing that she had created a profile on the app, which is a dating service for Black men and women, indicating she was 19.

She was identified by her initials in court, but The Mercury does not identify victims of sexual crimes.

Brian Markel Griffith, 22, pleaded guilty Monday morning for the same crime with the same girl.

Griffith also was originally was charged with rape and aggravated criminal sodomy for an incident that took place on May 19, 2020.

Griffith will appear again in front of Riley County Judge John Bosch on Nov. 7 for sentencing.

In total, prosecutors said four soldiers were involved with the girl, but there was no evidence that the defendants knew each other.

The alleged crimes occurred at different times and at different places, prosecutors say.

Zelond Benymon, 21, pleaded guilty on Aug. 9 to aggravated indecent solicitation. He also was charged with three counts of rape and two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy. His crimes took place between Aug. 1, 2020, and Sept. 1, 2020.

His sentencing is set for Oct. 3 with Riley County Judge Grant Bannister.

Jamichael Strahan, 21, is charged with similar crimes. His case is still moving through the courts. Strahan’s next appearance is in Geary County court on Thursday.

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