Minneapolis Man Convicted of Trafficking Three Girls for Commercial Sex and Producing Child Pornography of Two Girls
United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew M. Luger today announced the trial conviction of DEUVONTAY SHELBY CHARLES, 21, who was originally indicted on March 7, 2016, in the District of Minnesota, for sex trafficking three minor girls and for producing and receiving child pornography of two minor girls. The jury returned a guilty verdict on December 14, 2016, after a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
“Deuvontay Charles is a predator,” said Assistant United States Attorney Laura M. Provinzino. “He targeted vulnerable girls to traffic for commercial sex and to use to produce sexually-explicit images. Over the course of trial, the jury heard from four brave girls. Their stories are difficult to hear and were even more difficult for these victims to recount. The United States Attorney’s Office thanks the victims who courageously testified at trial and the jury who rendered this just verdict.”
“This conviction highlights the dedication and commitment of our excellent investigative partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Alex Khu of Homeland Security Investigations - St. Paul. “HSI is extremely proud of the cooperation between HSI and Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies working to put people like Mr. Charles behind bars.”
“I am very proud of the collaborative work done on this case,” said James Stuart, Anoka County Sheriff. “Let this be another warning to those who seek to victimize others in the name of greed. If you choose this evil path, we will find you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. We have made that commitment to the victims, and to the communities that we proudly serve, and will be relentless in delivering on that promise.”
As proven at trial, a concerned mother reached out to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office in July 2015 to report that DEUVONTAY CHARLES was recruiting her 17-year-old daughter to engage in prostitution. In the defendant’s private messages, he described how her daughter could “make money” and promised travel to Las Vegas and that “life will be smooth sailing.” He told her that he would provide condoms and protect her from the “clients.” CHARLES also instructed her to save his phone number as “Daddy.”
That initial report led to law enforcement identifying additional juvenile victims. A 14-year-old girl identified that CHARLES had requested sexually-explicit images of her. Between July 2 and July 4, 2015, eight images displaying the child’s genitals were sent online to CHARLES. As proven at trial, CHARLES also sent two pornography images of an adult female and instructed the 14-year-old victim to send pictures of herself in those similar sexual poses.
Another 14-year-old victim was identified who was trafficked by CHARLES and who CHARLES used to produce sexually-explicit images in July 2015. CHARLES asked the victim to make a video of herself engaged in sexual acts. CHARLES also recruited that victim to engage in prostitution activity for him, asking if she wanted “to make money.” When asked what he meant, CHARLES replied “sex.” Knowing she was only 14 years old, CHARLES responded that while she is “kinda young,” there would be a lot of money to make.
As proven at trial, CHARLES also sent messages to another 17-year-old victim about making “quick money.” On August 21, 2015, CHARLES picked up the victim in Blaine, Minnesota, posted her as an “escort” on backpage.com, and trafficked her through August 26, 2015. CHARLES made her available for commercial sex acts at a hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota, that he paid for in cash and registered under a different name. As proven at trial, CHARLES received money from the victim as a result of the sex acts that she engaged in.
As proven at trial, when he committed these offenses, CHARLES was required to register as a predatory offender based on a 2014 conviction in Dakota County for soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, Dakota County Community Corrections, and the St. Paul Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino.
DEUVONTAY SHELBY CHARLES, 21
• Sex trafficking of a minor, three counts
• Sex trafficking by use of force, fraud and coercion, two counts
• Production of child pornography, 12 counts
• Receipt of child pornography, two counts
• Commission of felony offense involving a minor when required to register as a sex offender, one count