Lansing Sex Trafficker Convicted in Federal Court
GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Patrick Miles, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan announced today that Christopher T. Bryant, 24, of Detroit was convicted on all five counts of a superseding indictment charging sex trafficking of minors; sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion; and interstate transportation for the purposes of prostitution. This was the second federal child sex trafficking case prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan. Eddie Jackson, the defendant in the first case prosecuted by this office, was convicted of child sex trafficking in April 2014.
U.S. Attorney Miles stated, “This U.S. Attorney’s Office and law enforcement are aggressively fighting child exploitation in its various forms in the Western District of Michigan. Predators who take advantage of the vulnerable and support the markets for child sex as well as human trafficking are going to face justice and answer for the harm they do to society.”
Bryant sex trafficked three 16 and 17-year-old girls in Lansing from March through July 2014. Bryant also transported an adult woman from Michigan to Arizona in August 2012 for prostitution, and then used force, fraud, or coercion to cause her to engage in sex with customers in Phoenix in early September of that year. The victims testified and described the multiple instances when Bryant threatened, beat, or strangled them to force them into prostitution or when Bryant became irate when they were not complying with his orders to have sex for money. Bryant also controlled the victims with alcohol and drugs and told them they would get rich selling sex. However, Bryant, who has dollar signs tattooed across his face, kept all the money. The jury saw Internet ads that Bryant posted selling the victims for sex, numerous pictures from social media of Bryant posing with large sums of cash in hotel rooms, and an online video of Bryant and others promoting themselves as pimps. After three days of testimony, it took the jury less than an hour to find Bryant guilty of all counts.
The trial was before Chief U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney. At sentencing, which is scheduled for April 20, 2015 at 1:30 p.m., Bryant will face a potential life sentence. The FBI (FBI) and Ingham County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case jointly. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tessa Hessmiller and Russ Kavalhuna are prosecuting the case.
The case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutor’s offices; and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement.