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Pimp Sentenced to 20-Year Prison Term for Trafficking Four Juveniles Into the District of Columbia for Prostitution
One Victim Was 12 Years Old

U.S. Attorney’s Office November 01, 2010
  • District of Columbia (202) 252-6933

WASHINGTON—Shelby S. Lewis, 42, of Temple Hills, Maryland, was sentenced today to 20 years of incarceration on charges of interstate transportation of minors for purposes of prostitution, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.; John G. Perren, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

Lewis pleaded guilty in December 2009 to four felony counts in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced today by the Honorable Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. Upon Lewis’s release from prison, he must register as a sex offender and remain on supervised release for the rest of his life. The judge also is requiring Lewis to submit to DNA testing, mental health screening and sex offender counseling. Finally, Lewis is not to have any contact with minor children under the age of 18 and to avoid contact with any of the victims in the case. Lewis admitted prostituting a 12-year-old girl for approximately two years after he became her official guardian. In addition, he admitted prostituting a 13-year-old girl for approximately three years, a 16-year-old girl for three weeks, and a 14-year-old girl for three days. Lewis met the girls on the streets of Washington, D.C. and Maryland and had them work on both sides of the Maryland/D.C. line and in downtown Washington, D.C.

The indictment in this case was returned in September 2009, and Lewis has been in custody since his arrest that month. The case stemmed from information obtained during an undercover operation conducted by MPD’s Prostitution Enforcement Unit in late May 2009. During the operation, police arrested the 14- and 16-year-old girls for prostitution near 14th and K Streets NW. The 13-year-old girl was recovered separately after she had been reported missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. All of the juveniles lived with Lewis and his minor biological children in his Temple Hills home.

After the girls were identified, the MPD and the FBI executed a search warrant at Lewis’s home. This led to the seizure of numerous items consistent with Mr. Lewis’s prostitution business, including a firearm and numerous photographs and computer images of the victims and known prostitutes. In addition, during the execution of the search warrant, two adult prostitutes were found living in Mr. Lewis’s home.

“Human trafficking victimizes some of the most vulnerable members of our society—in this case, girls as young as 12 years old,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “These depraved crimes are nothing less than modern day slavery. We know that too many children are still suffering in the shadows, and our Office will aggressively work to liberate victims from sex traffickers.”

“Investigating civil rights violations such as human trafficking is one of the FBI’s highest priorities,” said Acting Assistant Director in Charge Perren. “While the general public may not see this crime on the evening news—this case is a reminder that trafficking occurs in cities across the country every day and it will not be tolerated.”

“Sexual exploitation is a horrific crime,” said Police Chief Lanier. “At least we can now say this predator is off the streets so that he cannot victimize another woman or child.”

Lewis also is subject to restitution and forfeiture orders. Those matters will be addressed in follow-up proceedings scheduled for December 16, 2010. The court appointed a Guardian Ad Litem for all of the minor victims. The Guardian Ad Litem will file a report with the court addressing restitution and the future needs of the victims. The report will assist the court in making a final determination regarding the restitution amount.

In announcing today’s sentencing, U.S. Attorney Machen, Acting Assistant Director in Charge Perren and Chief Lanier praised the efforts of MPD Detectives Jonathan Andrews and Steven Schwalm and Officer Roy Melvin and the Prostitution Enforcement Unit, as well as the special agents who worked on the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They also commended D.C. Assistant Attorney General Anthony DeLeon, the Maryland and D.C. Human Trafficking Task Forces, and the Polaris Project. They also praised the work of USAO Victim Witness Advocate Veronica Vaughan for her work with all of the prostituted children. Finally, they praised the administrative support provided by Paralegals Teesha Tobias and Phaylyn Hunt and Legal Assistant Jacqueline Akyea, and the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridgette Tillman and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Roy L. Austin, Jr. who prosecuted the case.

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