Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking, Illegal Sexual Activity
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Columbia, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to sex trafficking a minor and illegal sexual activity.
Kenneth Ronald Jones, 26, of Columbia, pleaded guilty to one count of the sex trafficking of a minor and two counts of transportation for illegal sexual activity by coercion and enticement.
By pleading guilty today, Jones admitted that he induced three victims, including a minor, to travel across state lines to engage in prostitution and illicit sexual activity between May 1 and June 1, 2016.
On June 28, 2016, a 17-year-old victim from Wisconsin – identified in court documents as “FV1” – contacted her social worker and reported that she was being held against her will by Jones. She was located at a residence in Columbia that was known for prostitution and removed by law enforcement officers.
FV1 told investigators that she met Jones and another victim, identified as “FV2,” in May 2016 at a party in Milwaukee, Wis., and agreed to travel with him to Columbia to engage in prostitution. As soon as she arrived in Columbia, she was expected to see clients. Jones, who knew she was 17 years old, instructed FV1 to tell everyone at the house she was 18 years old. Jones had her charge $120 for half an hour, or $160 for a full hour. FV1 gave $20 to the owners of the residence and the rest of the proceeds of her prostitution to Jones.
FV2 told investigators that she met Jones in March 2016 at a party in Milwaukee and accompanied him to Columbia because she believed she would be assisting Jones with selling narcotics. FV2 estimated that she earned about $2,500 for engaging in prostitution, but was not allowed to keep any of the money. After about two weeks in Columbia, FV2 and Jones returned to Milwaukee to pick up FV1, after which they returned to the same brothel in Columbia.
Jones arranged for a third victim, identified as “FV3,” to join them in Columbia. FV3, after communicating with Jones on Facebook, agreed to come to Columbia to help him with his drug business. After she arrived in Missouri, Jones told FV3 she needed to make money and threatened to kick her to the streets if she did not do what he wanted. FV3 agreed and did a prostitution “date.” FV3 stated Jones directed her to charge clients $120 per half hour and $200 per hour. FV3 gave a door fee to the owners of the brothel and the rest of the money to Jones.
Under federal statutes, Jones is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley S. Turner. It was investigated by the FBI, the Greendale, Wis., Police Department, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department and the Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Police Department.
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