Two Columbia Men Plead Guilty to Prostitution Operation
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Two Columbia, Mo., men pleaded guilty in federal court today to their roles in a prostitution operation.
Barry Paul Manthe, 65, and Ronald James Clark, 67, each waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps to a federal information that charges them with using the internet to promote a racketeering enterprise, a prostitution business that operated out of a Columbia residence.
In a separate but related case, Kenneth Ronald Jones, 26, of Columbia, pleaded guilty on Aug. 6, 2018, to one count of the sex trafficking of a minor and two counts of transportation for illegal sexual activity by coercion and enticement.
FBI agents learned on June 29, 2016, that a 17-year-old runaway from Wisconsin – identified as “FV1” – was being held against her will and forced into prostitution by Jones. She was located at a residence in Columbia on that day and removed by law enforcement agents. Manthe and Clark operated a brothel at the residence.
FV1 told investigators that Manthe paid for escort advertisements on the website Backpage for the prostitutes utilizing the brothel. According to FV1, she was advertised under a pseudonym but the ads did not include her photograph. Jones found photographs of other females on the Internet and gave them to Manthe to post with the ad.
Clark collected the door fee from the prostitutes, which ranged from $10 to $30. FV1 gave the rest of the money she earned through prostitution to Jones. Clark applied the door fee income to the monthly bills, then split the remaining profit between himself and Manthe.
FV1 told investigators that she met Jones in May 2016 at a party in Milwaukee, Wis., and agreed to travel with him to Columbia to engage in prostitution. Within a few minutes of arriving at a Columbia residence that was used as a brothel, a man arrived soliciting prostitution. This man selected FV1 from the approximately five prostitutes present, and paid to have sex with her. FV1 subsequently engaged in prostitution almost every day, averaging two or three clients per day.
Although Jones knew that FV1 was 17 years old, he told everyone else at the brothel that L.V was 18 years old so she would be allowed to work there.
Another victim, identified as “FV2,” told police that she worked at the brothel every day and was advertised through Backpage. Jones physically abused her in the days prior to her running away in late May or early June 2016. She reported Jones pointed a 9mm handgun in her face and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire.
A third victim, identified as “FV3”, told investigators that Jones told her she needed to make money, and threatened to kick her to the streets if she did not do what he wanted. She witnessed Jones point guns and threaten the other victims.
Under federal statutes, Manthe and Clark are each subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley S. Turner. They were investigated by the FBI, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department and the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.