Subject: 03/29: Men in Prostitution Ring Convicted
From: PJS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Apr 04 2000 - 09:26:09 EDT
Men in Prostitution Ring Convicted
By DAVID SCOTT
.c The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS - Six men have been convicted of operating a juvenile
prostitution ring that prosecutors said stretched across nearly half
the country and a Canadian province.
The members of the so-called Evans family were found guilty Tuesday
of all 45 counts listed on a grand jury indictment. Police said the
verdict ended the largest federal prosecution of a juvenile
prostitution ring in U.S. history.
``It's been three years, and I am happy,'' said Maryland Heights
Police Sgt. Joe Delia, whose department stumbled onto the ring during
a 1997 traffic stop in the St. Louis suburb.
Authorities said that organizers for 17 years had recruited girls
mostly between 14 and 18 years old, mostly from Minnesota and
Wisconsin, and employed them under fake names in escort services and
massage parlors nationwide.
The six men were each convicted on several counts of interstate
prostitution, conspiracy and money laundering. They face maximum
sentences ranging from 45 to 125 years in prison.
The jury ordered them to forfeit property, including $1 million in
cash, four homes in the Minneapolis area and five luxury automobiles.
U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton scheduled sentencing for June 16.
Fifteen people were originally indicted by a federal grand jury in
connection with running the ring, which police and prosecutors said
included more than 50 women and girls in 24 states and Canada.
Twelve of the indicted are members of the Evans family, all from the
Minneapolis area. Six Evans family members and three family
acquaintances pleaded guilty to federal charges earlier this year.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Marcus called Tuesday's verdict a
victory for the women who worked as prostitutes. He compared life
with the Evans family to slavery.
The women and girls, some as young as 13, testified they were beaten
if they violated a strict set of rules and had guns held to their
head. In one case, a witness testified that a member of the family
forced her into an automobile trunk and said he was taking her to a
place where he planned to kill her.
``Whatever verbal and physical abuse it took to keep them, they did
that,'' Marcus said. ``It's hard to think that a 14- or 15-year-old
girl could resist that.''
Defense attorneys said they were troubled by the jury's decision.
Steven V. Stenger, who represented Monroe Evans, said testimony
showed the women worked voluntarily for the Evans family.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.
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