» Child traf­ficker sen­tenced:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - BRUCE VIELMETTI

Ja­son Wal­ters is sen­tenced to 32 years in prison on child sex traf­fick­ing charges af­ter forc­ing his 13-year-old vic­tim to tes­tify at trial.

A 13-year-old run­away who was forced into hun­dreds of sex acts with strangers dur­ing five months of cap­tiv­ity with her pimp was re-vic­tim­ized when Ja­son Wal­ters took his case to trial and forced the girl to tes­tify, a pros­e­cu­tor said at his sen­tenc­ing late Thurs­day.

The girl, ad­ver­tised as Erica on­line, was so up­set by the prospect she threw up in a court­house hall­way af­ter a pre­trial run through, and then tried to es­cape the court­house dur­ing a lunch break dur­ing trial, said As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Kather­ine Halopka-Ivery.

Halopka-Ivery ar­gued that Wal­ter, 38, found guilty last month of first-de­gree sex­ual as­sault of a child, traf­fick­ing of a child, phys­i­cal abuse of a child and false im­pris­on­ment, should get 56 years in prison. She cited his long crim­i­nal his­tory and false tes­ti­mony at trial.

Wal­ters’ at­tor­ney, Pa­trick Flana­gan, urged some­thing closer to 25 years, the min­i­mum manda­tory for the sex­ual as­sault con­vic­tion. Wal­ters again told Mil­wau­kee County Cir­cuit Judge Carolina Stark that he didn’t know the girl was so young or that she was be­ing pros­ti­tuted by, he sug­gested, some­one else.

Stark went through a long list of ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors in the case — the great age dif­fer­ence, the near con­tin­ual na­ture of the of­fense, Wal­ters’ record, the fact the girl be­came preg­nant, his false tes­ti­mony at trial about not re­al­iz­ing her age, and the sig­nif­i­cant, life­long trauma the vic­tim will face.

“That is noth­ing less than hor­rific,” Stark said of the girl’s tes­ti­mony about be­ing made to have about 20 “dates” a week.

“I’m go­ing to call it what it is — rape,” she said. “It’s not a date or child pros­ti­tu­tion.”

The girl had run away from a group home when she met Wal­ters at a bus stop at N. 27th and Burleigh streets in Oc­to­ber 2015. He of­fered a place to stay, gave her drugs and al­co­hol, raped her and then set about pimp­ing her via on­line ads for the next five months.

She fi­nally es­caped when Wal­ters was ar­rested and in jail on a drug charge in 2016.

Stark im­posed a 32-year prison term for the child sex as­sault, plus 25 years for traf­fick­ing and three each for phys­i­cal abuse and false im­pris­on­ment, but made the sen­tences con­cur­rent. She added an­other 31 years of ex­tended su­per­vi­sion.

At the start of the hear­ing, Stark made a record of speak­ing with both at­tor­neys about a mes­sage found on a wall of her court­room’s hold­ing cell, which she as­sumed Wal­ters had writ­ten while he was there dur­ing breaks in his trial.

It said, “Xavier Wil­liams — don’t plead out, go to trial. Erica will be ex­posed.”

Wil­liams, 20, is also charged with sex­u­ally as­sault­ing the 13-year-old, and the case is also as­signed to Stark.

Wal­ters

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