Man, woman accused of grooming Florida teen for prostitution
MIAMI (AP) — A convicted pimp and his alleged accomplice are in custody, accused of grooming an 18-year-old from central Florida for prostitution, authorities said.
Saint Matthew Hopson, 32, and Atilia Cleto Thomas, 19, each face charges that include felony human trafficking and forcing, compelling and coercing someone to become a prostitute, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. They were arrested on Feb. 13.
An arrest report said that on Jan. 14, Hopson met the Lakeland teen on Facebook Dating and began grooming her.
The next day, he drove to central Florida to meet her, and brought her back with him to Miami, where they stayed in a hotel, the Miami Herald reported.
They went shopping at Victoria’s Secret and Hopson had the teen pose for photos in the clothes that he bought her, the report said. Hopson then asked Thomas to post the pictures on an online escort service under the title, “I’m new to the game.”
He told the girl that he managed an escort service, but the teen didn’t know that she was being offered up on the escort site, the Herald reported.
Prosecutors said Hopson told the teen that it was Thomas who would be having sex with clients, but Thomas later asked the teen to have sex with a client. According to the report, the teen tried, but couldn’t.
Hopson also had sexual contact with the teen against her will, prosecutors said.
She told him she didn’t want to be a prostitute and wanted to go home, the report said. He then told her that he had just gotten out of prison for human trafficking and kidnapping and would kill her if she called police, the report said.
Hopson drove the teen back to Lakeland and dropped her off at a church, the report said.
She reunited with her family and called police. Officers later pulled him over when he left a hotel in Miami Springs. An arrest report said a notebook in Hopson’s car had a handwritten list of laws of being a “pimp.”
Hopson’s lengthy criminal history includes prostitution-related arrests in multiple states. He served three years in Florida for living off prostitution earnings, the Herald reported. He’s also on probation in North Carolina.
Thomas and Hopson remained in jail in Miami on Friday. Their court records didn’t list lawyers.