Guilty

HARRIS COUNTY (Covering Katy News) - A Houston woman who spent a month forcing a 16-year-old girl to work as a prostitute was sentenced to 50 years in prison this week, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Friday.

“Only a true predator would force a minor to become a street walker,” Ogg said. “Someone who steals a child’s youth by brutally coercing them to have sex with strangers for their own profit, like in this case, deserves to spend time in prison.”

Marilyn Joy Wilkes, 27, pleaded guilty to three charges: sexual assault of a child under the age of 17, human trafficking and compelling prostitution for a month-long crime spree over the Christmas holiday in 2018. During that time, Wilkes had sex with the juvenile, forced her to solicit strangers on the street in southwest Houston, made her see “johns” in a motel room on 1960 and go to strangers’ homes for sex. When the teen refused to work, Wilkes would punch her in the face, burn her with cigarettes and stomp on her head. Once, when the juvenile did not make her $600 a day quota, Wilkes broke her finger and her ribs. Wilkes used the money to pay for the motel and buy food, alcohol and drugs.

In January 2019, the teen was able to escape during a “date” with a stranger when she asked to use his phone to call her mother to pick her up. When her mother arrived, the 16-year-old jumped in her car, and fled while Wilkes followed them in a high-speed chase. To get away, mother and daughter called 911 and met a police officer in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. Wilkes was arrested weeks later.

Prosecutor Micala Clark convinced a judge to stack two 25-year prison sentences for a total of 50 years in prison for compelling prostitution and human trafficking. Wilkes was also sentenced to the maximum of 20 years for sexual assault of a child which will run concurrently.

The victim, her mother and a psychologist testified about the long-term effects of Wilkes’ actions.

“This was an example of the typical grooming that pimps use to victimize women,” Clark said. “This young woman suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia and nightmares at the hands of this predator.”

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