Topeka Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy In Interstate Sex Trafficking Case
TOPEKA, KAN. - A Topeka man pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to operate an interstate sex trafficking business, Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.
Barry M. Johnson, 40, Topeka, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. In his plea, he admitted conspiring with co-defendants to run a Topeka-based prostitution business that operated in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. At times, as many as 20 females were working as prostitutes for the organization. The leader of the organization rented houses where some of the prostitutes were allowed to live. The organization used Web sites, social media and cell phones to advertise sexual services and to keep track of prostitutes.
Johnson admitted he recruited and groomed potential sex workers for the organization. Johnson would notify the leader of the conspiracy he had a female who was ready to work and they would negotiate how much he would be paid.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 6. Both parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of 46 months in federal prison.
Co-defendant Frank Boswell, 42, Topeka, Kan., and Michaela Hekekia, 36, Topeka, are set for trial Jan. 3. Co-defendants Rachel Flenniken, 34, Topeka, Kan., and Sean P. Hall, 47, Topeka, Kan., are awaiting sentencing. Shannon Nelson, 23, Topeka, Kan., is set for sentencing Jan. 23.
Beall commended the Topeka Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney for their work on the case.
In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.