Topeka Woman Pleads Guilty To Sex Trafficking of Minor
TOPEKA, KAN. - A Topeka woman pleaded guilty Monday to the sex trafficking of a minor, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.
Michaela Hekekia, 36, Topeka, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. In her plea, she admitted training a minor female to work as a prostitute and transporting the girl from Kansas to a motel in Joplin, Mo., to work as a prostitute.
Hekekia 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.
Hekekia admitted she started working for the organization as a prostitute and gradually took on other duties including recruiting and training sex workers and managing advertising for sex services.
Sentencing is set for March 20. The government has agreed to recommend a sentence not to exceed 70 months in federal prison.
Co-defendant Frank Boswell, 42, Topeka, Kan., is set for trial March 7. 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 FBI, the Topeka Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations 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.