Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A 46-year-old Long Beach woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to working with her son to prostitute a local runaway, beginning when the girl was 15.

Sharilyn Kae Anderson — who additionally pleaded guilty to prostituting a second victim, an adult, through the use of force, fraud and coercion — faces a possible penalty of life in federal prison when she is sentenced May 18 in Los Angeles.

Anderson’s guilty plea comes about a week after her 23-year-old son, Joshua Jerome Davis, pleaded guilty to the sex trafficking conspiracy, as well as two federal counts of sex trafficking of a minor and an adult by force, threats of force or coercion. Davis is scheduled to be sentenced May 4.

At the time of Davis’ August 2013 arrest in North Las Vegas, investigators located and rescued the now-19-year-old victim, who was with Anderson.

Long Beach police detectives opened an investigation in 2012 after the teen’s father reported her missing. The ensuing probe uncovered evidence that Davis, assisted and counseled by his mother, had prostituted the victim at several hotels in Southern California and transported her across state lines to Nevada to engage in commercial sex in Las Vegas casinos, authorities said.

According to court documents, Davis first communicated with the girl on Facebook in 2010, when she was 14, leading to an initial in-person meeting in December 2011.

Several months later, the teen created an account on a website commonly used to promote prostitution and escort services, subsequently telling investigators she paid Davis about 30 percent of the proceeds she earned from commercial sex.

Initially, the girl claimed Davis believed she was 19. But when confronted by investigators with a text message from the defendant indicating he knew she was not yet 18, she recanted and said Davis believed she was 17, prosecutors said.

“Unfortunately, it’s all too common for minors involved in prostitution who are under duress to attempt to shield their pimps from law enforcement by withholding or minimizing information regarding the pimp’s knowledge and control over the minor’s activities,” Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles, said previously.

Court documents show that Anderson helped facilitate the prostitution scheme by transporting the teenager and the second victim to hotels to engage in prostitution when her son was unavailable. Anderson also made threats to and assaulted the second victim to intimidate the woman to continue making money for her son by prostituting, according to prosecutors.

Davis was initially arrested in April 2013 and booked into the Long Beach City Jail on state pandering and human trafficking violations.

According to a case affidavit, Davis told investigators then that he obtained a hotel room for the teenage victim in Las Vegas “out of the goodness of his heart.” After posting bond in the state case, investigators said Davis absconded to the Las Vegas area, where he reunited with the teen and resumed his commercial sex activities.

City News Service

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