ST. LOUIS—Reginald Williams was arrested by FBI and St. Louis County officers Friday afternoon on a charge of interstate transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in prostitution. He appeared today in federal court for his preliminary and detention hearings.
According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, on September 12, 2012, Collinsville, Illinois police received a report regarding a missing 16-year-old girl who was being forced to work as a prostitute by one or several adult males. The person reporting the information was familiar with online postings on the website Saint Louis backpages.com in which photographs of the girl were used to offer her services for commercial sex. The telephone number associated with the advertisement was recognized to be used by “Reggie,” who was later identified as Reginald Williams. Detectives reviewed the advertisement, which contained sexually suggestive language and listed the poster’s age to be 20 years old. However, Illinois police were able to confirm that she was born in 1996.
Investigators also learned that a second minor female was believed to be in the 16-year-old’s company at a hotel in St. Louis County. Detectives from Illinois then contacted the St. Louis FBI and the St. Louis County Police Department.
On September 13, 2012, an undercover detective called the phone number listed in the online advertisement to set up a paid sex “date.” When officers arrived at the hotel, they observed a black male later identified as Reginald Williams exit the same hotel room where the two minor females were eventually found. Williams was arrested on the parking lot. When officers went to the room they found both girls, ages 16 and 17. Thereafter, officers determined that Williams transported the 16-year-old girl to the St. Louis area and Chicago with the intent she engage in prostitution.
Williams, 27, from the St. Louis, Missouri area, was charged in a criminal complaint with one violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(a), the interstate transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in prostitution.
This charge carries a penalty range of 10 years to life in prison. In determining the actual sentence, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
As is always the case, charges set forth in a criminal complaint are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.