17-year-old madam arrested for running high school prostitution ring in Florida
Sarasota High School student Alexa Nicole De Armas was arrested Friday and charged with human trafficking of a person younger than 18, a felony. John Michael Mosher, 21, was also arrested, and charged with sexual battery on a minor, WWSB reported. Police told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that one more person would be arrested Tuesday.
Police said the scheme came to light after four students confided to Venice High School administrators that De Armas, who served as the ring’s madam, and a male Venice High student wanted them to join their prostitution ring in early October. The business plan was to prostitute other students for money and alcohol, according to the charging documents.
"Why pimp out old hoes when I have fresh young hoes I can give up for money?" De Armas wrote in a Facebook message to a business partner. "As long as I'm getting paid I'm trafficking all these [expletive]."
All arrangements were made through private messages on the social networking site because De Armas doesn’t have a cell phone. The conversations discussed prices for sexual acts, including $50-$70 for oral sex and $100 for sex with a virgin.
Police said the 15-year-old victim did not willingly participate in the sex act, which was believed to have occurred at a community pool in August.
"She stated she told Mosher she did not want to have sexual intercourse with him to which he disregarded and forcefully held her against the wall of the pool shed building, restricting her movement and ability to flee," the police report said
The documents also noted that the madam approached several girls at Riverview, Venice and Sarasota High Schools, but that the 15-year-old is the only known victim. Police say they are still looking for other victims and more arrest could be made in the coming days.
De Armas and her business partner planned to use some of the money to buy narcotics, according to witness statements to police. Prostitutes would get a 40-percent split of the profits, according to the police documents.
Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center CEO Olivia Thomas told the Herald-Tribune that victims can receive free and confidential services, but those younger than 18 will need parental consent.
“We would love to work with these girls and help them with what they were exposed to,” Thomas said.
According to WWSB, reaction to the arrests and the prostitution ring is mixed.
"It's underage girls in a prostitution ring, it's not really right in all honestly," said 15-year old Daniel Prieta of Cardinal Mooney High School.
"I wasn't surprised. Seems like kids who don't have a job yet are trying to make some money," said Clay Barclay, a 24-year old graduate of Lemon Bay High School in Englewood.
Law enforcement officials stressed that none of the sex acts occurred on any school property.