A Chicago man was sentenced Friday morning to what Ramsey County authorities believe is the longest prison term in Minnesota for a sex-trafficker.
Arteco M. Rhodes, 38, was sentenced by Ramsey County District Judge Salvador Rosas to 26 ¼ years in prison for trafficking a 15-year-old girl.
Rhodes was convicted by a jury in November of first-degree sex-trafficking and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to 25 years for the sex-trafficking conviction and 15 months for the pornography conviction. The sentences will run consecutively.
"Today's historic sentence happened because of our community's resolve that children who are prostituted are victims of crime, and that we should do everything in our power to help them," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a written statement.
Choi said the sentence was made possible with the combined efforts of St. Paul police, the nonprofit Breaking Free, his office and testimony from the 15-year-old victim.
According to court documents and testimony: Rhodes arrived in St. Paul from Chicago earlier this year with the girl, a runaway. He took photos of her unclothed and posted an ad on Backpage.com, which is commonly used to sell sex.
He drove the girl to a secluded, dead-end street and attacked her when other women confronted him about the girl's age. He beat her with his fists and a bat for three hours, threatening to kill her and burn her.
Rhodes eventually left the girl at someone's home. She fled for help and was taken to Regions Hospital by a good Samaritan who saw her on his way to work.
The girl told police that Rhodes assaulted and prostituted women and that he had convinced her to leave Chicago with him.