ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A Ramsey County jury found a Chicago man guilty in the sex trafficking of a 15-year-old girl in St. Paul in April 2013.
Arteco Marvell Rhodes, 38, was found guilty of possession of child pornography and he will be sentenced at 9 a.m. on Dec. 13.
The jury found him not guilty of second-degree assault and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
“This man took an innocent 15-year-old child, marketed her for prostitution, took the money and caused significant injury to her body,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi in a statement. “This is what sex trafficking of children looks like in our community. It is an ugly and evil act.”
According to the complaint and court testimony, the defendant met the 15-year-old victim, TJ, in Chicago in March of 2013, and within two hours asked if “she wanted to make money and be part of a family.” In the first week of April, he drove her and a 19-year-old woman from Chicago to Minnesota in a conversion van. On the way up, the victim learned that Rhodes was trafficking TB to customers for money in exchange for sex while in Chicago for Rhodes’ profit. During that same trip, TB told the victim that Rhodes would buy her clothes and she could “make money.”
Upon arrival in Minnesota, the three stayed at a Roseville motel where the defendant took pictures of TJ unclothed. Afterward, he had her pose for multiple pictures of child porn, which investigators later recovered on his phone.
Rhodes also placed an ad on Backpage.com of the victim under the name “Amber” and arranged for her to have sex with a man for $80.
When other females learned that the victim was a 15-year-old, a minor, they confronted Rhodes.
The defendant became enraged, drove the victim to a secluded, dead-end street in St. Paul where he beat her with his fists and jabbed her with a baseball bat over the course of three hours inside the van. Afterward, the Rhodes threatened to kill her by burning or tying her up and throwing her in the river if she told anyone.
The defendant then took the badly injured victim to Shawn Bryant’s home and left her there. When the opportunity arose, TJ left the house without anyone knowing and walked the streets looking for help. A Good Samaritan took her to Regions Hospital where she received medical care and gave her statement to St. Paul police.