A Brooklyn Park man was charged Monday with forcing a 15-year-old girl to engage in paid sex with 10 to 15 men at a Richfield motel over about a three-day period in January 2017.
Marquez Domingo Lopez, 29, was charged in Hennepin District Court with sex trafficking an individual under the age of 18, and promoting prostitution of someone under the age of 18.
According to a Richfield police spokeswoman, the case took nearly 18 months to charge because of the amount of people who needed to be located and tracked down.
According to charges, the 15-year-old girl told police she had been invited by Lopez to go to the Motel 6 in Richfield.
The girl said that after they partied in the motel room, Lopez told her she needed to work and earn money for the room and that she needed to have sex with his friend.
One of Lopez's friends offered to pay for sex with her, but the teenager said she didn't want to do it. However, Lopez told her she should not leave the motel, according to the court document.
After having sex with the friend, the teenager was moved to another room in the hotel where she said "she was forced to have sex for money with another 10 to 15 men while in that room."
The police complaint said the girl pleaded with Lopez to let her leave and he threatened her if she did not comply.
She said she arrived at the motel on Jan. 17 or 18, 2017, although records show that the room was rented by Lopez from Jan. 18 to 20 of that year, the police complaint said.
On Jan. 20, the teen said she was able to get out of the room and down to the lobby and was connected to a social worker who picked her up and brought her to Hennepin County Medical Center where she had a sexual assault exam.
A security guard at the motel told police that he had encountered her in the lobby and she was highly upset, "crying and pleading for help." He also identified a man in the lobby who matched Lopez's description and was playing down her pleas for help.
Officers found images on Lopez's cellphone and a video clip in which the teen appeared disoriented while Lopez and another female appear to be laughing at her condition. Also on the cellphone were text messages indicating commercial sex activity including messages about Motel 6 in Richfield and messages about sex acts and prices.
Lopez was interviewed March 21 and denied knowing the teenager. He is currently in the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Moose Lake where he is serving a sentence for burglary, according to state Department of Correction records. He was incarcerated June 22, 2017, and is scheduled to be released Sept. 19, 2019.