Man indicted for sex trafficking of a minor and conspiring to produce child pornography
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS – Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a 39-year-old man was indicted
for allegedly running a prostitution operation in the Twin Cities during the summer of 2007 that
used multiple underage females. The indictment charges Arthur James Chappell, no known
address, with two counts of sex trafficking a minor, one count of possession of child
pornography, one count of conspiracy to possess child pornography, one count of conspiracy to
produce child pornography, two counts of entice travel for prostitution, two counts of
transportation with intent to engage in prostitution, one count of conspiracy to entice travel for
prostitution, and one count of conspiracy to transport with intent to engage in prostitution.
The indictment alleges that from August of 2006 through July of 2007, Chappell, also
known as AJ and J, ran a multi-state prostitution ring. As part of his business, in the summer of
2007, he recruited two girls under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex acts. In addition,
Chappell allegedly possessed one or more items containing visual depictions of minors engaged
in sexually explicit conduct, conspired with others to possess such depictions, and induced or
coerced a child to engage in conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography.
Moreover, the indictment states that in July of 2007, Chappell enticed or coerced two adult
females to travel in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution. It further alleges that between
August of 2006 and July of 2007, he conspired to persuade other women to travel in interstate
commerce to engage in prostitution.
If convicted, Chappell faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison for sex trafficking
a minor as well as for conspiracy to produce child pornography count; a maximum of 20 years
on each count of enticing travel for prostitution; ten years on each count of possession of child
pornography as well as for conspiracy to possess child pornography count; ten years on each
count of transportation with intent to engage in prostitution; and five years for conspiracy to entice travel for prostitution and conspiracy to transport with intent to engage in prostitution. All
sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.
Yesterday, Yuri Fedotov, the head of the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime
reported to those attending a U.N. General Assembly meeting that an estimated 2.4 million
people worldwide are victims of human trafficking at any one time, with 80 percent of them
being exploited as sex slaves. He also said approximately $32 billion is earned collectively every
year by the criminals who operate human trafficking networks. The U.S. Department of Justice
reports that an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked within the U.S. alone each year.
The Chappell case is the result of an investigation by the Bloomington Police Department
and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security
Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Steinkamp.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.
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