DENVER (AP) — A child-trafficking ring lured or coerced at least four girls under the age of 18 into prostitution in five Colorado cities and sometimes “sold” them to third parties for prostitution, state Attorney General John Suthers said Monday.
A 70-count indictment charged four people with taking the girls to hotels in Denver, Boulder, Lakewood, Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs to have sex with paying customers last year.
On one occasion, one girl was held down on a hotel bed in Boulder and “subjected … to sexual contact without her consent,” the indictment alleged. The ring advertised the girls as prostitutes on the Internet, prosecutors claimed.
The suspects face charges including trafficking in children, pimping of a child, inducing child prostitution and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. They were identified as Patrick Lloyd McGowan, 22; Chad Armand Gow, 20; Bryan Steven Burns, 20; and Roy Manuel Ibarra-Gonzales, 20.
PHOTO GALLERY: Child Prostitution Ring Suspects
If convicted of child trafficking, each could face up to 24 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines. Gow also faces a charge of unlawful sexual contact, and McGowan faces drug charges, including an accusation that he provided cocaine to two of the girls.
The indictment said Ibarra-Gonzales and Gow were arrested in early December. No arrest dates are listed for the others. All were being held in the Jefferson County jail. Bail was set at $250,000 for McGowan and $200,000 for the other three.
Jefferson County spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said the jail does not release the names of inmates’ attorneys.
The indictment said the girls are under 18 but their ages weren’t listed. Three were convinced or encouraged to become prostitutes, but the indictment did not specify details. It said the third was recruited through the Internet. They were then coerced with drugs or threats of violence to work as prostitutes, the court document said.
The girls were also required to turn over their earnings from prostitution to the four suspects.
Ten other people were indicted on charges of abetting or patronizing the operation. All but two have been arrested, said Mike Saccone, a spokesman for Suthers.
They face charges including patronizing a prostituted child, pandering, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and evidence-tampering. One also faces an unlawful sexual contact charge stemming from the incident in which the girl was allegedly held down on a bed.
“Human trafficking and child prostitution are tragic crimes, from the devastating effects they have on their victims to the mere fact that the use and sale of persons persists in our world today,” Suthers said in a release.
– By Dan Elliott, AP Writer
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