A Minneapolis pimp and his female associate entered guilty pleas yesterday in St. Louis involving their transportation and prostitution of a minor.
According to the facts filed with the court, Jane Doe met Maurice Alexander and Latoshia Norris in the Minneapolis area circa May 2010. Doe told them she was seventeen years old, but she was actually sixteen. Alexander later invited Doe to live with him and Norris after she was abandoned on the street by a third party. The pair bought her food and clothing. They also trained her to work as a prostitute, and Alexander supplied her with marijuana and alcohol. Doe told investigators that Alexander was her pimp and kept the proceeds when she was paid for sex.
Alexander took the show on the road, driving Doe and Norris to Des Moines, Indianapolis and Kansas City (among other cities) and advertising their services on the online classified site Backpage.com
. (Backpage.com is owned by Village Voice Media, parent company of Riverfront Times
. Over the past year, VVM has worked with authorities
to weed out illegal activity on the site.)
Eventually Doe left Alexander and Norris and moved to St. Louis. When she departed, she left them a letter revealing her true age.
Alexander and Norris continued their travels, and sometime between August and September 2010, they reunited with Doe in St. Louis. According to federal authorities, the trio decided to post advertisements in Indianapolis for Norris and Doe to solicit for commercial sex. Alexander drove the females to an Indiana hotel, but they did not meet any potential customers so he drove Doe back to St. Louis and they parted ways again.
Maurice Dontae Alexander, 24, and Latoshia Norris, 25, both of Minneapolis, were indicted in March. Each pleaded guilty to one felony count of enticement to engage in prostitution before United States District Judge Jean C. Hamilton. Sentencing is set for September 9; each could receive up to twenty years in prison and/or pay fines up to $250,000.
Assistant United States Attorney Noelle Collins is handling the case; the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the St. Louis County Police Department aided in the probe.