Alachua County Man Sentenced to 327 Months in Prison for Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud, and Cooercion
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – Arthur Larange Lee Jr., 35, of Gainesville, Florida, was sentenced yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Gainesville to 327 months in prison for sex trafficking of an adult, and 60 months each for two counts of use of interstate commerce to commit prostitution. Each count is to be served concurrently. Lee was convicted following a jury trial on February 7, 2018. The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Lee abducted a young woman from the parking lot of a Gainesville church where she was attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. After taking the victim’s phone, he ordered her to drive to a nearby hotel where he took photographs of her for use in a Backpage.com advertisement. Lee told the victim he would “break her in,” after which he raped her, burned her, and committed other acts of violence against her. Lee then fed the victim small amounts of cocaine and instructed her that she had to pay off her “debt.” Over the span of two days, Lee forced and coerced the victim to engage in sexual acts with numerous “johns.” He kept all the money derived from the sex acts that took place at local hotels and private residences. While at one hotel, the victim texted a “john” who agreed to help her escape by picking her up outside the hotel. The victim then fled with Lee’s phone and called law enforcement officers. Responding officers were able to quickly locate and arrest Lee, who was still inside the hotel.
U.S. Attorney Canova said: “This prison sentence sends a strong message to those who would enslave vulnerable people for profit using violent and manipulative tactics to keep their victims silent. We are working as a team in Northern Florida and throughout the country to fight the evil of human trafficking and bring healing and hope to the survivors. Some of the many partners involved are prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, victim services, local coalitions, and community members.”
Sheriff Sadie Darnell said: “Human trafficking is a horrible crime which causes life-long harm to the victim survivor(s). I applaud the tenacious work by our detectives and the cooperation with the U.S. Attorney in bringing justice to this case. We will continue to work tirelessly to stop this in Alachua County.”
“The trafficking of any person is a heinous crime that is considered modern-day slavery,” said Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners are on the front lines of the fight against sex trafficking, and are working to bring hope to victims. As this case demonstrates, we encourage survivors to come forward and engage with law enforcement so we can hold accountable those responsible.”
The case was investigated by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Williams.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.