A Fort Lauderdale man convicted of pimping out girls as young as 12 was sentenced to five life terms in prison Tuesday by a federal judge.
Van Lawson Williams, 49, had been convicted by a jury of sex trafficking of minors and attempted sex trafficking of minors, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Prosecutors said Williams, a convicted felon, would entice young runaway girls between the ages of 12 and 16 to have sex for money and shelter between August 2011 and May 2012. Williams would have sex with the girls and give them drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy, prosecutors said.
The victims told authorities customers paid $20 or $30 to rent Williams' bedroom and paid the girls $100 - $150 for sex, authorities said.
"He created a relationship with these young women, starting out with the notion that the relationship was real and affectionate and that it would be long-lasting," Senior U.S District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley said, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Williams, who was arrested last May and was found guilty following an October trial, is appealing his conviction. He says the girls lied about his pimping them out and claims he was a father figure who was trying to help the troubled girls who he says he allowed to baby-sit his 7-year-old daughter.
Hurley said he believed the girls' testimony and said Williams "committed blatant perjury" when he testified in his defense.