Man charged with human trafficking
Human trafficking charges were filed against a Yuba City man accused of using force to coerce a woman into prostitution.
The Sutter County District Attorney’s Office charged Cornellius Joseph Lee, 29, on Thursday. Police think there may be additional potential victims.
Lee was arrested by Yuba City police officers at his home on Gray Avenue on Tuesday.
“Without going into extremely explicit details, he was forcibly pimping young women through the use of physical violence,” Deputy District Attorney Adam McBride told Judge Brian Aronson during an arraignment hearing Thursday.
McBride alleged Lee posted pictures of women on Backpage.com and received $1,000 a week “through his team of girls.”
“Police have spoken with other females. I think they might be reluctant,” he said.
Lee faces three felonies: Depriving or violating the personal liberty of another with the intent to effect prostitution, which is punishable by 20 years in prison; deriving support from the earnings of prostitution, punishable by six years; and procuring another person for the purpose of prostitution, punishable by six years.
Aronson said the case was seri- ous.
Lee, who spoke to the judge through video conference from Sutter County Jail, requested he be released from custody.
“This is a serious offense, just like you said. I’ve been working, I have two daughters. I can’t fight the charges from inside the jail here,” Lee said.
“I’m stressed out about something I never did.”
Lee also faces misdemeanor charges for possession of stolen property and identity theft.
Aronson set bail at $205,000.