Two brothers accused of forcing Texas teenager into prostitution
Eric Johnson was held on $500,000 bail Tuesday. Johnson’s brother, Jarvis Alexander, was ordered held on $250,000 bail on Monday, court records show.
Two brothers forced a Texas girl into prostitution and then held her against her will when she wanted leave Chicago and return home, Cook County prosecutors said.
After the 17-year-old met 29-year-old Eric Johnson online in early February and traded phone numbers with him, Johnson allegedly bought the girl a bus ticket so she could go to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was living. There, Johnson had the girl perform sex acts on others for money and kept the proceeds, prosecutors said Tuesday.
When business slowed down, Johnson decided to bring to the girl to Chicago and moved her into the apartment of his brother, 25-year-old Jarvis Alexander, prosecutors said.
Alexander started to take the girl to meet johns after placing ads on escort websites and collected whatever money was made, prosecutors said.
When Johnson saw that the girl had texted a friend, saying that she wanted to go back home to Texas, he allegedly beat and choked her until she nearly passed out and blocked her from leaving the apartment. Johnson also used another victim he had beaten as an example of what would happen to the girl if she tried to leave, prosecutors said.
Johnson also sexually assaulted the girl several times, and in an interview with authorities, admitted to knowing she was only 17, prosecutors said.
The brothers were arrested on Feb. 29 when they and the girl were traveling in a white Nissan and officers stopped them after noticing Alexander wasn’t wearing a seat belt. Police ordered all three out of the car after they smelled marijuana. Officers recovered $3,000 in cash and an unspecified amount of marijuana when they searched the vehicle, prosecutors said.
When the three were taken to a police station, officers learned that the girl had been forced to work as a prostitute and the department’s Human Trafficking Task Force was notified. She was subsequently taken to a hospital and a sexual assault kit was administered.
“What we have here is one woman’s story,” Johnson’s assistant public defender said in court Tuesday, noting that he was not trying to minimize the seriousness of the allegations. The assistant public defender said Johnson was currently unemployed, and despite living recently in Tennessee, had strong ties to Chicago.
Both brothers had separate addresses in Austin, according to court records.
Johnson was ordered held on $500,000 bail Tuesday. Alexander was ordered held on $250,000 bail on Monday, according to court records.
Johnson faces aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery charges, while Alexander, faces a single felony count of promoting prostitution and several misdemeanor charges for his alleged participation in the scheme to sell the girl for sex, court records show.