Man sen­tenced for sex traf­fick­ing

The Columbus Dispatch - - Faith&values - By Jim Woods jwoods@dispatch.com @Wood­snight

A Colum­bus man who ran a pros­ti­tu­tion ring was given a 15-year fed­eral prison sen­tence Thurs­day.

Lerenzo M. White, 31, of Colum­bus, also known as “Jus­tice” or “Justin,” pleaded guilty in May to one fed­eral count of sex traf­fick­ing by force, fraud or co­er­cion. U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Mar­b­ley in Colum­bus handed down the sen­tence, which also calls for su­per­vi­sion for life af­ter his re­lease.

Colum­bus po­lice un­der­cover of­fi­cers con­ducted a pros­ti­tu­tion sting at the Crowne Plaza Ho­tel Down­town in June 2014. Of­fi­cers re­ported watch­ing White drop off two fe­males at the ho­tel who of­fered to ex­change sex acts for money.

In Au­gust 2015, one of the fe­males filed a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence com­plaint against White with Colum­bus po­lice. She said she had worked for White start­ing in the spring of 2014 and that she was beaten and choked on more than one oc­ca­sion when she told him she no longer wanted to en­gage in pros­ti­tu­tion. She said he also held all the money that she made.

Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that White used the Back­page. com web­site to ad­ver­tise pros­ti­tu­tion in­volv­ing nu­mer­ous other women.

Three other fe­males who worked for him told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that White had been phys­i­cally vi­o­lent with them, fed­eral court doc­u­ments say. One of the women said that she was ad­dicted to heroin and White con­trolled her us­age depend­ing on her pros­ti­tu­tion ac­tiv­i­ties.

“White forced women to en­gage in pros­ti­tu­tion through phys­i­cal force or con­trol­ling them through drugs,” U.S. At­tor­ney Ben­jamin C. Glass­man said in a state­ment.

“He con­trolled where they lived, where they went and their con­tact with the out­side world. If one es­caped, he would find an­other to vic­tim­ize.”

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