A Broward judge ordered a man accused of forcing a homeless woman he met in Tampa into prostitution in South Florida held on $30,000 bond Friday. Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley addressed Jesse Lewis before setting his bond amount in court.
A Broward judge ordered a man accused of forcing a homeless woman he met in Tampa into prostitution in South Florida held on $30,000 bond Friday.
Jesse Lewis, 27, is charged with human trafficking and forcing commercial sexual activity, procuring for prostitution another to become a prostitute, and living off the earnings of a prostitute, said Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley, who found probable cause for each count.
Lewis brought the victim to South Florida, where she had about 11 “dates” at two hotels, with Lewis taking all of the money, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Lewis met the victim in Tampa on about June 21 and offered her a place to live after finding out that she was homeless, the affidavit said.
He drove her to a Hampton Inn in the Tampa area, advertising her and another prostitute as an escort on www.backpage.com, but after not having any customers, Lewis drove them to Hollywood, Florida, the affidavit said.
He rented a room at the La Quinta Hotel at 2620 N. 26th Ave., posted another ad on www.backpage.com and told the victim she would make him some money, according to the affidavit.
“He then proceeded to choke her and then slapped her in the face and told her that she is required to look him in the eye and call him ‘Daddy,’” the affidavit said. “He then told her that she would make him money how he told her to.”
The victim said she had about 10 “dates,” ranging in price from $80-$150, with all of the money going to Lewis, who waited outside the hotel room during the dates.
The victim was subsequently moved to the Sheraton Hotel at 1870 Griffin Road in Dania Beach, where she had one more date before she was able to leave and call for help from police when Lewis fell asleep, the affidavit said. She said she was afraid to try and leave until he was asleep and no one else was watching.
The victim said she saw Lewis beat another prostitute in Tampa and said she was afraid of what happen if she didn’t comply with the prostitution, the affidavit said.
Lewis “denied any physical abuse and stated that he just somehow always finds girls who are already ‘Ho’s’ before he meets them and doesn’t get involved in how they make money,” the affidavit said.
A prosecutor said in court that Lewis was previously arrested in Miami Beach on March 14 for living off the earnings of a prostitute, in a case that’s still pending.
“You apparently did not learn from your arrest in Miami for basically the same type of thing, and now it looks like you’re going to Tampa, you’re bringing the women here, moving them from one hotel to the next, so it does seem that you’re engaged in this type of activity,” Hurley said, before setting Lewis’ bond based on his concerns that Lewis continues to be involved in the prostitution industry.
Lewis is being held at the Broward County Main Jail. If he is posts bond, he will have a GPS monitor, Hurley said. He ordered Lewis not to possess any guns, weapons, firearms or ammunition while he is out on bond, and ordered him to have no contact with the two alleged victims.
Lewis was represented by the public defender’s office in court. In addition, his girlfriend, who said she is pregnant with Lewis’ baby, spoke on his behalf.
“Jesse, he has two crazy ex-girlfriends that really don’t like me, and they know he needs to be out here to help me take care of this baby,” she told Hurley.
The woman said the ex-girlfriends haven’t seen each other but have talked on the phone, but she met them because she goes through Lewis’ phone. Hurley asked why she would do that.
“Because I’m his baby mama and I’m in a relationship with him, and I don’t trust him,” she said.
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