SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – One man is behind bars, charged for trying to sell a 15-year-old girl for sex acts. Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Julie Canter said it’s the first case of its kind in the county.
Earlier this week, an FBI agent and Sullivan County detectives said they found a 15-year-old girl being sold on Backpage.com, forced to engage in sex acts in the Tri-Cities.
“‘Backpage.com’ is a website where you can post ads similar to like Craigslist but it’s used a lot for escort services and that kind of thing,” Sullivan County Detective Matthew Price said.
However, some of the people you see on the site may not have made their own decision to advertise themselves for sex.
“It has been known to be a place for potential victims of child sex abuse, child sex human trafficking,” Price said.
After finding the teenager on the website, investigators contacted the number in the ad set up a time to meet with the girl at a La Quinta Inn. The girl was being sold for $200 per hour.
When officers met her at the Inn, “We were able to locate and find a male subject that was forcing her to do this,” Price said.
They arrested Brockett Lang and charged him with trafficking a child for a commercial sex act.
Assistant District Attorney Julie Canter said because of a new law, this offense is now a Class B felony, carrying with it up to 12 years behind bars.
“If we hadn’t had this law basically this male would’ve only been charged with a misdemeanor,” Canter said. Canter said that misdemeanor would carry much less, if any, jail time.
“This is the first case that we have had of trafficking a minor for commercial sex acts in Sullivan County and that’s not to say that it isn’t happening but now that we have the tools we are watching these websites and we will seek justice, and we will hold those people who exploit other individuals for money based on sex accountable,” Canter said.
As for the 15-year-old girl, “She will not be charged with prostitution she is being treated as a victim,” Canter said.
Canter said she is a runaway and is now in Department of Children’s Services Custody. “And the hope is to find a secure placement for her, not to penalize, not to criminalize her,” Canter said.
At this time, Canter said Lang’s next court date has not been set yet.