Jury finds Twin Cities pimp guilty of trafficking two Rochester girls
A Twin Cities area man was convicted Friday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis for forcibly prostituting three young women, including two teens from Rochester.
The jury spent just two hours deliberating before declaring Lee Paul, 35, of Bloomington, guilty on all three counts of sex trafficking. A sentencing date has not been set.
Paul was arrested in May 2013 for trying to recruit two young girls as prostitutes. According to reports from the time, he picked up the girls, ages 12 and 16, in Rochester and brought them to hotel in Anoka County.
Investigators say he raped the girls and told them they would work for him as prostitutes.
Paul, a self-admitted pimp, sent the 12-year-old out with the third victim, a 19-year-old woman, to find men in Douglas County who would pay to have sex with them.
He stayed back with 16-year-old. The teen, however, was able to temporarily escape and call police. Paul fled the scene, but officers were able to later track him down at a nearby home.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melinda Williams led the prosecution, while U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger gave the opening statement and cross-examined Paul. Two of the men who paid for sex were among the prosecution's witnesses.
“Lee Paul is a predator,” Williams said in a statement, according to KTTC. “He hunted down vulnerable girls, including a sixth grader, to traffic for commercial sex. He controlled these women and girls through physical, sexual, and psychological abuse ... We thank the victims who courageously testified at trial and the jury who rendered this just verdict.”