A 40-year-old felon from Burnsville has been sentenced anew for running a multistate prostitution ring out of the Twin Cities. Following a retrial and conviction, Arthur J. Chappell was sentenced Friday in federal court in Minneapolis to 28 years in prison for sex trafficking a minor, possessing child pornography and a host of related counts.
In a court filing that argued for a 30-year prison term, prosecutors described Chappell as a “cold and calculating liar and a manipulative and controlling sexual predator.”
“The defendant is a well-educated and intelligent man, who could have taken many legitimate opportunities to make a living,” the filing continued. “Instead, he preyed on young women.”
Chappell’s defense countered in its court filing that the girls and women who worked for him did so freely and that he is now a minister. “The bottom line is that Mr. Chappell is a changed man,” it said.
Federal prosecutors contended during the trial that in 2007, Chappell recruited two girls, ages 16 and 17, to perform sex acts for money. One of the girls, from Richfield, testified that Chappell had threatened and sexually assaulted her.
In addition, according to prosecutors, Chappell forced minors to participate in the production of pornography. He promoted his operation by posting nude photos of the girls in ads on Craigslist and Backpage websites. Between August of 2006 and mid-2007, he persuaded other women to travel out of state to engage in prostitution.
Authorities closed in on Chappell in June 2007, when Bloomington police staked out the Homewood Suites and discovered four women in a hotel room rented to him.
“The defendant literally bought and sold human beings for his own personal gain,” the prosecutors’ court filing said. “He beat them, drugged them, raped them and emotionally and psychologically manipulated them.”
Chappell’s criminal history also includes convictions for sexual assault of a minor, theft, second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, identity theft and promoting prostitution.