Prosecutors detail abuse in forced prostitution case
A judge raises bail for one suspect after hearing allegations of sexual assault
Two men raped a 15-year-old girl over two days, told her she was their "property" and forced her into prostitution for two days before she managed to escape, Honolulu prosecutors and police said yesterday.
Deputy prosecutor Thalia Murphy released details of the girl's ordeal yesterday in Circuit Court in seeking a bail increase to $150,000 from $30,000 for one of the men arrested Monday.
An Oahu grand jury indicted 22-year-old Jason Smith of Michigan, also known as Tony Watkins, yesterday on six counts of first-degree sexual assault, promoting prostitution in the first degree and kidnapping. The other man, a 24-year-old, remains at large.
In asking for high bail, Murphy cited the seriousness of the charges and the danger Smith poses to the victim and her family.
The case is especially egregious, Murphy said, because Smith sexually assaulted the girl repeatedly over two days, then enlisted a friend to do the same.
"When they were finished, they told the child that she was their property and that she had to engage in acts of prostitution for them and give them the money," Murphy said.
On Dec. 1 and 2, they allegedly forced her to prostitute herself near the Pali Longs and made her turn over the money that she made by threatening to hurt her and her family. Smith apparently knows where the girl and her family live, according to prosecutors.
The girl later told police that when she was at the Pali Longs area, Smith was trying to recruit other prostitutes to work for him.
When she tried to run away, Smith allegedly threatened her with a stun gun.
Murphy said Smith poses a flight risk because he has no ties to the islands.
Although he is unemployed, he managed to come up with money for them to stay at a Waikiki hotel for four days, Murphy said: "Obviously they have some means to make bail, and $30,000 is inadequate."
Circuit Judge Derrick Chan agreed and found that the increase in bail was reasonable. He also prohibited Smith from contacting the girl.
If convicted, Smith faces a maximum 20 years in prison on the sexual assault and kidnapping counts. He has a prior conviction on a weapons charge in Michigan.