Chrystul Kizer, a 19-year-old facing a life sentence in prison after being charged with killing the man she says forced her into sex trafficking, was released from jail on Monday after two years in a Wisconsin detention center awaiting her trial.
Kizer was released after a $400,000 bond was paid by the Chicago Community Bond Fund, the Milwaukee Freedom Fund, Survived & Punished, and the Chrystul Kizer Defense Committee.
The organizations announced in a post that when Kizer’s case ends, the bond money will be used to establish a national bail fund for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
The Chicago Community Bond Fund, an organization that has worked to help bail out people who have been arrested at protests that have taken place across the country in the weeks after George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, said that they had been inundated with donations from people across the country and decided to use some of the money to help free Kizer after bailing out protesters in six counties across Illinois.
“The police and government systems set up to protect Chrystul failed her,” the Chicago Community Bond Fund said in a post about Kizer’s release. “Instead of being given care and support from the beginning, she has been wrongfully incarcerated for nearly two years now for choosing to survive.”
Kizer told the Washington Post that she met her alleged abuser, Randall Volar III, a 34-year-old white man, in 2018 and that he was aware she was just 16. Kizer told the Post that he sexually abused her for over a year while providing her with money.
She said that Volar began trafficking her to other men after they met for the first time on Backpage, a website that was shut down in 2018 for its association with child sex trafficking.
Kizer wasn’t the only young Black girl who was abused and filmed by Volar. He was previously arrested by authorities in 2017 after a 15-year-old called the police from Volar’s home and told police them that a man had given her drugs and that he was going to kill her. Volar was subsequently charged with child enticement, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, and second-degree sexual assault of a child. Police officers confiscated evidence from Volar’s home including hard drives and clothing. He was released the same day that he was arrested and remained free while police investigated him for abusing multiple girls.
Volar was killed by Kizer, who shot him in the head twice and lit his home on fire in June 2018. Kizer told authorities that she was defending herself after Volar pinned her to the floor after she told him that she didn’t want to have sex with him. Kizer eventually confessed to shooting him.
Cyntoia Brown-Long, another sex trafficking victim who spent 15 years in prison for killing a man she said paid her for sex when she was a teen, told BuzzFeed News last year she saw parallels between her case and Kizer’s.
“Here was yet another situation where there was a young girl caught up with some unfortunate circumstances, who reacted out of trauma,” Brown-Long said. “And the justice system wasn’t necessarily trying to hear that, trying to see that.”