Nicholas Eduardo Fernandez
By Joe Johnson
An Athens-Clarke County grand jury recently returned a six-count indictment against a University of Georgia student who allegedly engaged in the sex trafficking of a missing 14-year-old girl.
Nicholas Eduardo Fernandez, 24, was charged with trafficking of person for sexual servitude, statutory rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment and two counts of aggravated child molestation, according to the indictment filed Nov. 16 in Clarke County Superior Court.
Fernandez was one of two people arrested in August following an investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The GBI said they began an investigation on April 16, when the Sparks Police Department in Cook County asked the agency for assistance in locating the missing 14-year-old girl.
The investigation reportedly led to a house in Chestertown, Md., where the girl was found in a crawlspece under the home of 50-year-old resident Brady Hart, according to the GBI, which said that Fernandez was subsequently identified as Hart’s associate.
The GBI said warrants were secured in Cook and Athens-Clarke counties charging Hart with the same offenses as Fernandez.
According to his LinkedIn profile, the Alpharetta resident was pursuing a business administration degree at UGA’s Terry College of Business.
The UGA Police Department assisted the GBI in arresting Fernandez on campus on Aug. 31.
University spokesman Gregory Trevor said that Fernandez faced possible disciplinary action that ranged from interim suspension to expulsion.
“The University of Georgia finds these alleged crimes to be reprehensible and condemns them in the strongest terms,” Trevor said.
Fernandez on Tuesday continued to be held at the county jail without bail being set.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 17.