WEST JORDAN A disturbing case of prostitution involving juveniles as young as 15 years old was busted by investigators from Sandy and Midvale police.
Julia Jane Young, 18, and DeWayne Eugene Hopkins, 26, the alleged orchestrators of the operation, were arrested late last week. On Tuesday, the two were charged in 3rd District Court with three counts of aggravated exploitation of prostitution, second-degree felonies; one count of exploitation of prostitution, a third-degree felony; and drug possession, a misdemeanor. Young also had outstanding bench warrants for sex solicitation and not having a sexually oriented business license.
Young and Hopkins conducted an illegal business in which they would advertise erotic massages on the Craigslist Internet site, said Sandy Police Sgt. Victor Quezada. Four girls worked for Young and gave massages and performed sex acts. One was 15, two were 17, and the fourth was 24 years old.
"This organization has been operating in Salt Lake the last couple of months," he said.
Young and Hopkins found the juvenile girls through word of mouth and lured them into the business with the promise of employment and fast money, Quezada said.
"The defendants took photos of the three children, advertised them on the Internet, arranged appointments, provided a motel location to perform the business, transported them to the business location and received 50 percent of the proceeds of the business," according to court documents.
It was unclear Tuesday whether the clients knew they would be meeting a juvenile for the massage.
The 15-year-old went by the name "Autumn Rain," while one of the other teens used the moniker "Crystal," according to court documents. Once inside the motel room, the girls would perform an illegal sex act, according to court documents.
A confidential informant tipped off investigators to the prostitution business. After the arrests, the three juveniles were turned over to family members.
The 15-year-old was not living with her parents when her activity was discovered but was living with another family member, Quezada said.
Investigators decided not to arrest any of the prostitutes, including the adult, or their clients. All of the girls cooperated with police and rather than charge them with a misdemeanor, detectives opted instead to file felonies against Young and Hopkins, Quezada said.
"Detectives felt (the girls) were victims in this case even though they knew what they were doing," he said.
Last week, police served a search warrant at Young and Hopkins' residence. Investigators seized a cell phone used to make the massage appointments, records of the 15-year-old's schedule including dates she worked and how much money she made and a small amount of marijuana, according to court documents.The two remained in the Salt Lake County Jail Tuesday on $100,000 bail each.