Federal Appeals Court Reinstates Sex Crime Charges

Three Oklahoma City men are once again facing conspiracy and child sex trafficking charges after a federal judge reinstated the indictment against them.

The three men--Trung N. Duong, William M. Baker, and Curtis A. Anthony--were initially indicted on charges of child sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking after reportedly patronizing a prostitution business in order to have sex with minors aged 14 and 15. A fourth man, Russel Ehrens, was also charged, but he was acquitted at jury trial.

The remaining men had their indictments dismissed by U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron last year, after she determined that the indictment failed to allege that the defendants knew the girls with whom they were engaging in prostitution were minors--a "necessary element of the crime," according to Judge Cauthron.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Oklahoma City appealed the judge's decision to dismiss the indictment. Last week, the

10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with prosecutors in saying Cauthron's dismissal of the indictment was in error. The court reinstated the indictment against the three men. 

Also indicted in the case was Tonya Gum, the Oklahoma City woman identified as the operator of the prostitution business. According to a press release announcing the indictments, Gum was responsible for providing underage prostitutes to the men:

"The indictment alleges that Ms. Gum arranged "dates" for Mr. Duong and Mr. Baker with a 14-year-old girl at their respective residences in October 2014. After each date, the 14-year-old was driven to deliver personally a portion of the proceeds of the commercial sex act to Ms. Gum. The indictment alleges Ms. Gum provided Mr. Anthony with 14- and 15-year-old juveniles in late October 2014. Both girls took off their clothes for Mr. Anthony, and he completed a commercial sex act with the 15-year-old girl."

Gum has since pleaded guilty to the charges against her and is awaiting sentencing.

For child sex trafficking, each of the charged defendants faces a mandatory minimum of ten years and up to life in prison and a fine of $250,000. For conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking, each of the charged defendants faces up to life in prison and a fine of $250,000. In addition, the indictment seeks forfeiture from each defendant, including the homes where the illegal commercial sex acts reportedly took place.

Image credit: http://www.weisspaarz.com/
 

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