St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A 23-year-old Metro East man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to enticing an underage girl to commit prostitution, US Attorney Richard Callahan said.
According to court documents, the St. Louis County Police Department's Special Investigations Unit was conducting an undercover prostitution sting operation in June 2012 to see if minors were being offered for commercial sex via the Internet. The operation took place at a local hotel in the county.
An undercover officer responded to an online ad found in the "escort section" of the St. Louis "backpages" on Backpage.com. The ad used an out-of-state area code and showed several sexually-suggestive pictures of a young female purported to be 19-years-old. The undercover officer made contact with this individual, who was later taken into police custody. When police told her they suspected she was a minor, the girl confirmed she was 17 years of age.
After further investigation, police determined Richard Anderson was sending the girl out for sexual encounters and arrested him.
Prosecutors said Anderson admitted to generating most of the posts on Backpage.com and marketed the girl's services for commercial sex. Anderson also kept all of the minor's earnings for the sexual services rendered.
Richard Anderson pleaded guilty to one felony count of enticement to engage in prostitution. Anderson faces up to 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $200,000 when he's sentenced on November 12.