Madison Man Sentenced to 18 Years for Sex Trafficking
MADISON, WIS. -- Jeffrey M. Anderson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that Maurice Adonis Withers, 28, Madison, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 18 years in federal prison for trafficking five female victims. This prison term will be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release.
On May 5, 2017, after a four-day trial in federal court in Madison, Withers was convicted of nine counts of sex trafficking, including three counts that involved a victim who was a minor. Withers used force and threats of force to coerce women to work as prostitutes for him in Dane and Sauk Counties, in the cities of Madison, Wisconsin Dells, and Baraboo, and also transported three of the victims to Las Vegas to engage in prostitution there for a month.
Specifically, Withers was convicted of two counts of sex trafficking a minor, three counts of sex trafficking adults by force or threats or coercion, one count of attempted sex trafficking an adult by force or threats or coercion, one count of transporting a minor from Wisconsin to Nevada with the intent that the minor engage in prostitution, and two counts of transporting adults from Wisconsin to Nevada with the intent they engage in prostitution.
The evidence presented at trial included testimony from all five victims about Withers’ use of force, threats, and coercion that caused them to engage in prostitution in 2015. The evidence showed that Withers had been recruiting women and girls to prostitute for him since at least 2010. Testimony at trial established that Withers met women and girls on social media, and that he targeted especially vulnerable women and girls. Once these victims met Withers in person, he would coerce them to work for him as a prostitute, and if they resisted, he used violence, threats, intimidation, degradation, and psychological manipulation to force them to do his bidding.
Acting U.S. Attorney Anderson said, “Withers exploited vulnerable young women by forcing them to engage in prostitution. I commend the trial team, investigators and victim advocates for their dedicated and meticulous work in this case.”
Attorney General Schimel said, “Paying for sex is not a victimless crime and the ‘Johns’ who support this modern day slavery are as guilty as the “pimps” and traffickers who prey on the victims. I’m encouraged by the sentencing of Withers and look forward to continuing the successful partnership between Wisconsin DOJ and U.S. DOJ as we seek to end human trafficking.”
The charges against Withers are the result of an investigation by the Madison Police Department; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation; Sauk County Sheriff’s Department; and Wisconsin Dells Police Department. The prosecution of this case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Pfluger and Corey Stephan.