ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A Chicago man was sentenced Friday to more than 26 years in prison for the sex trafficking of a teenage girl – which may be the longest sentence ever given in Minnesota for such a crime.
According to the Ramsey County Attorney’s office, Arteco Marvell Rhodes, 38, was found guilty on Nov. 1 on one count of engaging in sex trafficking in the first degree and possession of child pornography.
Rhodes met the defendant, a 15-year-old girl, in Chicago in March, and asked her if she “wanted to make money and be part of the family,” according to the criminal complaint.
Within weeks, Rhodes drove the teen and a 19-year-old woman from Chicago to the Twin Cities in a conversion van.
The trio stayed at a Roseville motel when they first arrived, where he took several nude photos of the victim, including several of him having sex with her. She eventually was moved to a St. Paul residence.
Rhodes placed an ad for the victim on Backpage.com, giving her the name “Amber,” and setting up a date with a man who agreed to pay $85 for sex. Several other dates followed.
On an occasion when the victim refused to have sex with a man, Rhodes drove her to a secluded area. For three hours, he strangled her till she passed out, urinated on her, pulled out her hair braids one by one and beat her with his fists and a baseball bat.
He threatened to kill her by fire or by throwing her in the river if she disobeyed him again, or if she revealed her true age to anyone.
The victim later escaped from the residence of Rhodes’ associate, and was taken to Regions Hospital by a Good Samaritan, where she gave a statement to St. Paul Police.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi applauded Friday’s historic sentencing of Rhodes.
“Through our community’s victim-centered response, sex trafficking victims develop the courage to tell their story because they know we are behind them,” Choi said.
Rhodes was previously convicted in Chicago for cocaine possession and three felony firearm offenses.