PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia man has been sentenced to 17-34 years in prison for trafficking a 15-year-old girl into the sex trade.
Authorities say the victim met Robert Spence, the defendant, when she ran away from home in ninth grade. Spence reportedly met her on the street and offered her a place to stay before taking her to his home and forcing her into prostitution. Officials say he would drive her to and from the street corners where she would work, set prices for her hours and then took the money and paid her nothing.
Spence reportedly set up crates for the girl and another 16-year-old victim to sleep on, made them work from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. each night and set their price at $150 a “trick.” He even bought her clothes for her and fed her only when he chose to.
Authorities say Spence threatened to kill the victim if she left or told anyone. That victim told the court she was afraid because Spence knew where her family lived and where she’d previously gone to school.
And the abuse didn’t end there. While incarcerated and awaiting trial, Spence reportedly wrote his friend a letter urging him to take over his “pimping” business and run it while he gave instructions from prison. He also told his friend not to “undermine his authority” with his “b*****s” and admitted the victim’s young age and the amount he made from each girl. The letter was intercepted by a corrections officer.
On Tuesday, Spence was sentenced to a maximum term of 34 years in prison, with the prosecutor remarking in court, “The facts of this case make my blood boil.”
Authorities say Spence clearly targeted and exploited runaway teens.
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