U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Georgia
(404) 581-6000
September 12, 2014

Atlanta Man Sentenced for Interstate Transportation of 17-Year-Old Girl for Prostitution

ATLANTA—Johnathon Kelly has been sentenced to eleven years for interstate transportation of a minor for prostitution.

“This defendant took advantage of a young girl who was especially vulnerable, having run away from her home in Alabama, and exploited her for his personal gain,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “But she was saved as a result of the training and diligence of two state and local law enforcement officers who, during a routine traffic stop, recognized that the defendant might be sexually exploiting this child. The officers’ suspicions proved to be well-founded.”

J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “Today’s sentencing of Johnathon Kelly serves as a reminder to all that there are people like him waiting for the opportunity to exploit our nation’s youth. Today’s sentencing of Kelly also illustrates that there are dedicated law enforcement officers who are aware of this type of criminal activity and who remain vigilant in efforts toward protecting those being exploited.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charge, and other information presented in court: On or about November 22, 2012, Kelly drove 17-year-old R.W. from her home in Birmingham, Ala., to Atlanta, Ga. After R.W.’s arrival in Atlanta, Kelly posted photographs of R.W. on an Internet website. Using multiple Internet ads of R.W., Kelly obtained prostitution clients for the girl, both in and outside Georgia – including the states of Louisiana and Texas. Kelly caused R.W. to engage in prostitution at various hotels, including hotels in Augusta and Norcross, Ga., Bossier City, La., and Dallas, Texas.

R.W. was rescued from Kelly on January 9, 2013, after Kelly was stopped for speeding while driving on Interstate 20. R.W. was a passenger in the vehicle. A Greene County Sheriff’s deputy, who had recently undergone training in identifying human trafficking victims, and a Georgia State Patrol officer, involved in the traffic stop noticed that R.W. appeared frightened of Kelly; separated R.W. from Kelly; and, after briefly interviewing her, discovered that Kelly was causing R.W. to engage in prostitution.

Kelly, 31, of Atlanta, GA, was sentenced to eleven years in federal prison, to be followed by 20 years of supervised release. He must also register as a sex offender as a condition of his supervised release. Kelly must also pay the victim $7,500 in restitution. Kelly pleaded guilty on June 30, 2014.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Greene County Sheriff’s Office, and Georgia State Patrol.

Assistant United States Attorneys Mary F. Kruger, Richard S. Moultrie, Jr., and Susan Coppedge prosecuted the case.

This case is a part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.Presse-mails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.

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