Texas man pleaded not guilty to taking 13-year-old girl to the New Orleans area, putting her up in a Terrytown motel, and forcing her to have sex with people for money, according to Jefferson Parish court records.
The Jefferson Parish Attorney’s Office has charged Randi Lewis, 33, of Missouri, Texas, and his alleged accomplice, Chelsea Gee, 18, of Houston, with child sex trafficking. Lewis was also charged with possession of MDMA and marijuana, records show. He also pleaded not guilty to the drug charges.
Although Lewis was arraigned in Jefferson Parish Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, Gee has yet to argue the case. His arraignment has been postponed until August 12 due to unspecified “medical reasons”, according to court records.
Lewis and Gee are accused of exploiting the 13-year-old victim after Gee recruited her from Houston. The girl told detectives at the Sheriff’s Office at Jefferson Parish that Lewis had purchased bus tickets for the three to travel to New Orleans on June 21, authorities said.
Once there, one of the adults was allocated a room at the Terrytown motel. Lewis then asked Gee and the 13-year-old to take a picture of themselves. He posted the footage on a website known to advertise prostitution dates, the sheriff’s office said.
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The girl was forced to perform between 10 and 20 prostitution dates while Lewis and Gee stood outside the room, authorities said. Lewis then allegedly took all the money given to the girl.
The 13-year-old told investigators she feared reprisal if she did not follow Lewis’s orders, authorities said.
Assistant detectives from the sheriff’s office rescued the girl on June 24 as they drove to the motel to investigate information about a possible kidnapping. It is not known if the tip was for the girl.
But detectives found the 13-year-old after noticing the smell of marijuana coming from Lewis and Gee’s open room, authorities said.
Lewis and Gee were being held Tuesday at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna. Bond for Lewis was set at 165,500. Gee’s bond was set at $ 100,500.