EAST ST. LOUIS — A Park Hills, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and by force, fraud, or coercion, and one count of sex trafficking of a minor and by force, fraud, or coercion.
In a press release, Acting U.S. Attorney James L. Porter said Marcus Dewayne Thompson, 28, is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 29 before Chief Judge Michael J. Reagan, at which time he faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison, not more than 5 years of supervised release after his prison term, a mandatory special assessment of $200 and restitution.
Court proceedings revealed that during a six week period in June and July 2015, Thompson orchestrated a venture with his wife, co-defendant Robin Thompson, which involved the recruitment, transportation and advertisement of a Madison teenager for commercial sex acts in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana.
Robin Thompson, 25, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minor and by force, fraud, or coercion for prostituting a Madison teen.
Her sentencing will be Sept. 15. She faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, not more than five years of supervised release after her prison term, a mandatory special assessment of $100, and restitution.
A court document states the victim, then 15, was recruited by the couple while she was walking on the street in Madison in June 2015. Marcus Thompson told her she could make money as a model and she agreed to get into a truck that she said had four other girls.
The girl told investigators that after stealing a camper, the couple took the girls to Orlando, Fla., and other cities, where they were forced to have sex with men. The girl said the Thompsons told her and the other girls they would be killed and "thrown to the alligators in the swamp" if they tried to escape.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For information, visit projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel T. Kapsak.