SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The United States Attorney's Office says a Savannah man was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in federal prison for his role in sex trafficking eight minor children between the ages of 13 and 17.
Timothy Dequon Lewis, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore, Jr. Officials say Lewis was convicted of 19 felony counts by a federal trial jury in March 2017. According to evidence presented at that trial, the FBI received a lead in October 2015 from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that a 13-year-old child had run away and was missing. A telephone analysis conducted by NCMEC of telephone numbers previously associated with the missing child revealed various online escort advertisements with images that appeared to depict the missing child. The FBI's investigation led agents to the Gateway Hotel on Abercorn Street in Savannah, where Lewis was staying. FBI located and rescued three children from the hotel, including the missing 13-year-old. Lewis was arrested at the hotel and agents ultimately found five additional minors victimized by Lewis.
Officials say Lewis created and posted online prostitution advertisements for all eight of his minor victims, and he transported the children to his customers and profited from the commercial sex acts they performed. He employed coercion and physical abuse to compel some of his victims to engage in this activity.
'Lewis turned our most precious and most vulnerable citizens into property and sold them over and over again to satisfy his own depravity and greed. I am proud of the swift, thorough, and professional work of our law enforcement partners and Assistant United States Attorneys Tania D. Groover and Carlton R. Bourne, who put Lewis behind bars where he belongs. As demonstrated by this case, predators like Lewis will be brought to justice. We will fight day and night to ensure the safety of our nation's children,' U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said, in a release.
Anyone who suspects instances of child sexual exploitation is encouraged to call 1.800.843.5678, a hotline operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in partnership with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.