With one sex crime conviction already on his record by age 19, a Minneapolis man has been found guilty of sex trafficking, this time involving girls as young as 14.
Jurors in federal court in St. Paul convicted Deuvontay S. Charles, now 21, last week of 20 counts including sex trafficking a minor, producing and receiving child pornography and other felony charges.
“Deuvontay Charles is a predator,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino said in a statement following the convictions. “He targeted vulnerable girls to traffic for commercial sex and to use to produce sexually explicit images” that were distributed on Facebook and Kik Messenger.
Provinzino praised the “four brave girls” who testified in the six-day trial that they were victimized by Charles.
“Their stories are difficult to hear and were even more difficult for these victims to recount,” Provinzino said.
Charles’ return to sex trafficking came to light in July 2015, when a mother told the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office that Charles was recruiting her 17-year-old daughter to be a prostitute.
Prosecutors say private messages from Charles to the teen included him telling her she could “make money … life will be smooth sailing,” and travel to Las Vegas.
That tip led authorities to more of his victims, according to the case against Charles. A 14-year-old girl said that Charles requested sexually explicit images of her. In early July 2015, eight such images were sent online to him.
Another 14-year-old girl, according to the prosecution, was asked by Charles to make a video of herself having sex. He also told her that she could make money as a prostitute, even though she was “kinda young.”
During the trial, jurors heard that Charles picked up a 17-year-old girl in Blaine, advertised her as an “escort” on backpage.com and trafficked her. He made her available for sex at a hotel in Bloomington, then received money from her.
His recruitments began within a couple of months of him being convicted in 2014 in Dakota County for soliciting a 15-year-old to engage in sexual conduct.
Charles’ sentence in the earlier case put him on probation for three years and required him to register as a predatory offender.