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Columbia Heights man, 38, admits prostituting girl, 17, in Roseville

  • April 5, 2012 - 11:41 PM

A Columbia Heights man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to prostituting a 17-year-old girl out of a Roseville motel until a manager realized what was going on and alerted police.

The girl at first gave officers a fake age to appear as if she were an adult. But she soon broke down and asked for help, authorities said. She said the man, Samuel Cozart, 38, was her pimp, and that he gave her methamphetamine and split the cash that customers paid for sex.

Cozart appeared in Ramsey County District Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to prostituting the girl at the Days Inn, 2550 Cleveland Av.

"This case reinforces our determination to treat children who are being prostituted as victims and aggressively prosecute those engaged in exploitation and sex trafficking," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

The case surfaced Jan. 24 when the motel manager's boyfriend was waiting for her to get off work, only to be approached by a man who asked if the boyfriend knew where the man could get phony identification for a 17-year-old with him. He was apparently unaware that the boyfriend knew the manager, according to a criminal complaint.

The boyfriend told the manager, who immediately researched Cozart's information online. She found advertisements on websites that caused her to believe that Cozart was running an illegal escort service out of room 222. She called police.

Cozart, who had $1,020 in $20 and $100 bills on him when arrested, is to be sentenced on June 6.

JOY POWELL

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