OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal jury Monday convicted an Oklahoma man on child sex trafficking charges based on his role as a customer who used two children for commercial sex in October 2014.
The conviction was announced by U.S. Attorney Mark A. Yancey, Western District of Oklahoma. These convictions resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
After the jury announced its verdict, Curtis Allen Anthony, 50, of Ardmore, Oklahoma, was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending his sentencing.
In January 2016, a federal grand jury charged Anthony in a superseding indictment with child sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking. Anthony was charged for his role as a customer who obtained juvenile females for commercial sex in October 2014.
On June 19, after hearing three days of trial evidence, a jury returned guilty verdicts against Anthony on both counts; one count of child sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking. The jury heard that in October 2014, two juvenile females and an adult female were under the control of two adult male pimps, Maurice Johnson and Hiram Mitchell. The jury also heard that Tonya Gum, known as Carmen, operated at least 20 phone numbers listed in the escort section of the Oklahoma City Yellow Pages. The trial evidence showed that the pimps drove the girls to the appointments where sex acts occurred. The pimps and Gum split the money.
The jury also heard that on Oct. 24, 2014, Anthony called one of Gum’s phone lines and scheduled an appointment at an industrial building he owned in Edmond, Oklahoma. The evidence showed that the pimps delivered a 14-year-old victim to that building and left her alone with Anthony. When he could not locate his wallet to pay her, Anthony drove her to a convenience store to use an ATM but still could not get money, so the pimp drove away with the victim and a 15-year-old victim. The jury heard that Anthony then called one of the girls back directly, told her he found his money, and asked them to return. The jury heard that both victims went into Anthony’s building, where Anthony paid them to take off their clothes and have sex.
In December 2015, a defendant charged in the same original indictment, Russell D. Ehrens, was acquitted at trial of child sex trafficking. After that acquittal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office took Anthony’s case to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that mistake of age is no defense to child sex trafficking when the defendant is alleged to have encountered a child victim personally, as Anthony is alleged to have done. Based on that law, the jury was required to determine whether Anthony had a reasonable opportunity to observe the juvenile victims, not whether he knew or recklessly disregarded the fact that they were under the age of 18.
Maurice Johnson and Hiram Mitchell previously pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking. Tonya Gum and Trung N. Duong, a customer co-defendant of Anthony, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking. Mitchell is currently serving a prison term of 10 years. Johnson, Gum, and Duong await sentencing.
At sentencing, Anthony faces up to life imprisonment, including a mandatory minimum of 10 years of imprisonment, a lifetime of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine, in addition to paying restitution to the victims. His sentencing will be set by the court at a future date.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys McKenzie Anderson and David Petermann, Western District of Oklahoma.