Two More Columbia Men Charged Related to Prostitution Operation
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that two more Columbia, Mo., men have been charged in federal court, in separate but related cases, in relation to a prostitution operation.
Barry Paul Manthe, 63, and Ronald James Clark, 63, both of Columbia, were charged in separate criminal complaints that were filed under seal in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., on Thursday, March 30, 2017. Those complaints were unsealed following the arrests of Manthe and Clark, who remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing.
Both Manthe and Clark are charged with using the Internet to promote a racketeering enterprise, a prostitution business that operated out of a Columbia residence.
The investigation that resulted in these charges also resulted in a federal indictment that was returned on March 22, 2017. In a separate but related case, Kenneth Ronald Jones, 25, of Columbia, was charged in an eight-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City.
Jones is charged with three counts of transportation for illegal sexual activity by coercion and enticement. The indictment alleges that Jones induced three victims to travel across state lines to engage in prostitution and illicit sexual activity between May 1 and June 1, 2016. Because one of those victims, identified in court documents as “L.V.,” was under the age of 18, the indictment also charges Jones with one count of transporting a minor across state lines for illegal sexual activity and with the sex trafficking of a minor. The indictment also charges Jones with three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.
According to affidavits filed in support of the criminal complaints, FBI agents learned on June 29, 2016, that a 17-year-old runaway from Wisconsin – identified in court documents as “L.V.” – 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.
L.V. allegedly told investigators that Manthe paid for escort advertisements on the website Backpage for the prostitutes utilizing the brothel. According to L.V., she was advertised under a pseudonym but the ads did not include her photograph. Jones allegedly found photographs of other female on the Internet and gave them to Manthe to post with the ad.
According to the affidavits, Clark collected the door fee from the prostitutes, which ranged from $10 to $30. Clark applied the door fee income to the monthly bills, then split the remaining profit between himself and Manthe.
L.V. 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, the affidavits say, a man arrived soliciting prostitution. This man selected L.V. from the approximately five prostitutes present, and paid to have sex with her. L.V. subsequently engaged in prostitution almost every day, averaging two or three clients per day.
Although Jones knew that L.V. was 17 years old, the affidavit says, 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 in court documents as “C.M.,” told police that three days after arriving at the house, Jones told her that she needed to make money, and threatened to kick her to the streets if she did not do what he wanted. C.M. agreed and did a prostitution “date.” When C.M. told Jones she didn’t want to do that anymore and that she was willing to work as a dancer to make money, Jones allegedly pulled out a handgun and pointed it at her. Jones said he was not playing games, and that C.M. was going to make money.
C.M. and a third victim, identified in court documents as “K.S.,” ran away from Jones in late May or early June 2016.
Jones became increasingly verbally abusive and cruel, the affidavit says, and pressured L.V. to see more clients. L.V. said she wanted to stop prostituting herself after two weeks and told Jones on multiple occasions she did not want to prostitute anymore because it was sad and degrading. Jones did not care, the affidavit says, and instructed L.V. to keep making money. She feared repercussions from Jones if she attempted to leave him.
L.V. told investigators that Jones had left for Milwaukee the day before law enforcement took her from the Columbia residence. Before he left, the affidavit says, Jones instructed L.V. to send the money she earned prostituting herself to him while he was in Milwaukee. L.V. told investigators that she had planned to flee from the residence the following day. Jones was arrested when he returned from Milwaukee for a Boone County court appearance on an unrelated matter on Feb. 27, 2017.
Larson cautioned that these charges are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
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.