Joseph Lewis Jr. of Broward, Florida was arrested on charges of human trafficking and sexual battery on a minor. He allegedly prostituted a 17-year-old girl from Fort Myers to a group of men in Plantation and forced her to turn over the money she earned before raping her. Lewis, 34, is being held without bond at Broward’s Main Jail. The press did not specify if Lewis has acquired the services of a lawyer.
The arrest report states that Lewis purportedly planted the teenage victim in a hotel room on the fourth floor of the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Plantation, Florida. He then purportedly created a sex ad for the girl on a website without her consent. The victim told police that she was forced to have sex with seven or eight men who responded to the ad and came to the hotel room over the weekend.
According to the report, the girl repeatedly told Lewis that she did not want to have sex with strangers for money, but Lewis allegedly told her she owed him cash for bring her across the state and urged her to continue, collecting whatever money she received. The victim told police that she didn’t know anyone to call for help and she even considered jumping out of the fourth-floor window to escape, but Lewis allegedly told her that he had friends watching her. Lewis also reportedly raped her.
The victim was eventually rescued by police, though it is unclear what tipped law enforcement off. When questioned, Lewis purportedly admitted to having rented a hotel room and having a girl with him. Investigators went through Lewis’ text messages to get more information about the men who came to have sex with the victim and how they paid the victim. Records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show that Lewis has previous convictions for assault and battery, and carjacking.
A similar case involving sexual assault on a minor was reported in Broward last week. Volnick Cherisma and another man who has not been identified by the press were arrested for allegedly committing lewd and lascivious acts on two 14-year-old girls. Cherisma and his companion allegedly took the teenagers to a hotel room in Tamarac where they engaged in sexual activity.
The girls reported the encounter to authorities and investigators have reportedly collected room receipts and surveillance footage from the hotel corroborating the girls’ story. Cherisma is being held at Broward’s Main Jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond. Records show that he has previous convictions for traffic and drug violations.