A 16-year-old girl who had been missing from her Indiana home for several months was trafficked by a man she met on a dating app, federal authorities say.
The girl from Evansville, Indiana, and her boyfriend from Greenwood, Indiana, were found in October at the man’s Ohio home, court documents show. The 26-year-old man, identified as Payton Jamar Brown, now faces federal charges of underage sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation, according to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Brown is expected to plead not guilty, his attorney told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
During an interview with investigators in November, the 16-year-old said she met Brown through the dating app 3Fun. He took her to Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio, and they began a sexual relationship after she said she didn’t want to go back to her home, federal authorities said.
She said Brown “cheated” on her at one point. In retaliation, she sent Facebook messages asking for a ride away from his home in exchange for marijuana that Brown had grown, the complaint said.
A Facebook user agreed to the arrangement, but the driver left with 5 pounds of marijuana before the 16-year-old could get into the car, prosecutors say. Brown told the girl he wasn’t mad and offered him a way to pay her back.
“He told her that the marijuana taken cost about $3,000, and since he was out of money, he asked if she was willing to go on ‘dates’ with men for money,” the indictment said.
She agreed, and naked photos of the 16-year-old were posted to an escort website, investigators said.
From July to October, the 16-year-old had sex with about 45 men for money, she told authorities. Some of the sexual encounters were filmed and she used SnapChat to sell the photos and videos, prosecutors said.
What she described as “the worst thing,” prosecutors said, was traveling with one of the men to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
“You have to do it, it’s $2,000,” Brown told the girl, according to the complaint.
Another man, according to the indictment, wanted her to be his “sugar baby.”
She later asked Brown if they could pick up one of her friends in Indianapolis. After picking up the other 16-year-old and returning to Brown’s home in Ohio, the girls were found safe by officers from the Colerain Police Department, prosecutors said.
It is unclear whether the second girl was also trafficked.
Brown was arrested Friday, Feb. 24, in Cincinnati, court records show.
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