DA: Pimp indicted for prostituting teen

February 26, 2009 3:05:37 PM PST
Prosecutors say an alleged pimp has been indicted for promoting the prostitution of a 14-year-old girl who he met on a social networking Web site and lured to New York. There, they say, he exploited her by having her work for him as a prostitute and go on more than 500 "dates" during a two-month period. "Every parent should take heed when their child turns on their computer and goes on an interactive social networking site," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. "The defendant used just such a website to recruit a young, emotionally vulnerable girl by promising to take care of her. Instead, he is accused of physically abusing her and throwing her into a life of degradation in which she was required to perform sexual acts with hundreds of men for money."

Brown identified the defendant as 25-year-old Jamaal Watkins, who was arraigned Tuesday. The 95-count indictment charges him with the crimes of second-degree promoting prostitution, second- and third-degree rape, second-degree criminal sexual act, promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, promoting a sexual performance by a child, possessing an obscene performance by a child, possessing a sexual performance by a child and endangering the welfare of a child.

He is being held on $100,000 bail and is due back in court on April 28. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

According to the charges, the victim - who was residing in an out-of-state group home - first met Watkins on a chat site when she was 13. It is alleged that she spoke with him often, and he frequently asked her to come to New York, where he promised he would take care of her. Late in the fall of 2008, approximately a year after they first met online, the victim allegedly ran away from the group home and stayed with friends in New York until she met Watkins on November 6, 2008, at which time he engaged in a sexual relationship with her.

Prosecutors say that four days after that, Watkins told the victim that she was going to make money and he began to set up "dates" for her. He allegedly accomplished this, in part, by taking pictures of her in lingerie and lewd clothing and posting the pictures on Craigslist. It is alleged that between November 11, 2008, and January 2, 2009, Watkins took her on approximately 11 "dates" per day at various hotels and residences in Queens.

Authorities say she performed sexual acts for money - which she allegedly turned over to Watkins in exchange for him providing her with food and clothing. It is further alleged that during this period the defendant physically assaulted the victim when she did not call him after she went on a date.

Watkins was arrested on January 3, a day after the victim was picked up by police at the Par Motor Inn, where she had agreed to have sexual intercourse with an undercover police officer in exchange for money.

Brown said that a court-ordered search warrant was executed at the defendant's residence, and a photo album was allegedly recovered from his bedroom floor which contained approximately 40 photos of approximately 20 different naked females, as well as a digital camera containing photographs of naked females, including the victim. A computer inside the residence allegedly contained numerous photographs of the victim performing sexual acts with the defendant.