NEW BERN, N.C. – Kevin Harold Rudolph, 28, of Raleigh, was sentenced yesterday to 180 months in prison for sex trafficking of a minor. Rudolph and co-defendant Marcus Gambrell were charged in a four-count superseding indictment on April 7, 2020. The indictment charged both men with sex trafficking of a minor and using the internet to promote prostitution, Gambrell with manufacturing child pornography, and Rudolph with possession of a firearm by a felon. Rudolph pled guilty to the sex trafficking charge on March 7, 2022.
According to court records and statements made during hearings, in December 2018, a Raleigh Police Department detective was conducting an online investigation when he came across an advertisement offering a minor for prostitution. Law enforcement identified the minor as a 14-year-old girl who left a temporary home six days earlier. The detective texted the phone number listed on the advertisement to set up prostitution sting date. He was directed to a room at a Motel 6 in Raleigh, where he located and rescued the victim. In the room, officers found condoms, an iPad, and a bookbag. The bookbag contained a firearm and paperwork in Rudolph’s name. On the iPad, officers found photos of the victim that had been used in the prostitution advertisements, as well as additional photos that showed the minor victim’s genitals. The hotel was registered to Marcus Gambrell.
The victim explained to officers that after running away—in slippers and with no coat, despite it being late December—she had ended up at the Raleigh Inn in Raleigh. There, on Christmas Day, she had met and socialized with Gambrell and Rudolph. The two men invited her to relocate with them to a nearby Motel 6 the next day. Once at the Motel 6, Gambrell took photos of the victim with the iPad. The two men used those photos to post and maintain prostitution advertisements for the victim on the internet. Over the next two days, they took turns supervising the prostitution and updated each other over Facebook Messenger. The victim estimated that Rudolph and Gambrell arranged around 10 to 15 “dates” per day, and they kept all the money. She stated that on one occasion Gambrell had vaginal sex with her, as Rudolph recoded a video with his cell phone. Law enforcement, however, did not recover the video. After his arrest, Rudolph provided law enforcement with the same number that has been listed in the prostitution advertisements.
Co-defendant Marcus Gambrell pled guilty on January 19, 2021, to manufacturing child pornography. On December 21, 2021, he was sentenced to a 210-month term of imprisonment.
Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Raleigh Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake D. Pugh prosecuted the case.
Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:19-cr-0336-FL.