LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A 17-year-old Lansing girl has been sentenced to spend four to 20 years in prison for what authorities say was her role in a sex-trafficking ring mostly involving girls between 14 and 18-years-old.
Mariah Haughton was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty last month to human trafficking and transporting of a female for prostitution last month. She’s being named because she was charged as an adult.READ MORE: Chase Elliott Wins Long Race At Nashville
Witnesses testified earlier that Haughton was mostly responsible for taking photos of girls, posting them online at Backpage.com and scheduling customers, according to a report in The Lansing State Journal. Court documents say Haughton also recruited girls at a juvenile center and on the street.
Twenty-five-year-old Christopher Bryant was also sentenced for his role in the ring — 40 years in federal prison. Another man, 28-year-old Jonathan Purnell, is awaiting trial.
Haughton ‘s attorney says she was impressionable and “duped” by the two men and prosecutors admitted the girl might also be a victim in the case. But the judge didn’t seem swayed.READ MORE: 2022 Ford Fireworks On June 27: Here's What To Know
“The difference is that you took a management role instead of an employee role,” Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Joyce Draganchuk told the girl.
According to documents released last October, the ring operated out of an apartment and various motels around Lansing from March through July 2014. The federal indictment says Bryant, Haughton and Purnell provided the minors with alcohol and drugs and profited from the enterprise.
Multiple victims testified at an earlier trial. Three girls testified that they were taken to cheap motels around Lansing, where customers paid between $100 and $200 to have sex with them. Bryant told the girls he would split the money with them, but he only gave them drugs and alcohol, according to court documents. When one of the girls stayed out too late one night, Bryant choked her and threatened he could kill her and no one would know, she testified.MORE NEWS: 'Roe Is On The Ballot': Supreme Court's Ruling On Abortion Rights Raises Stakes In Midterms
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