Topeka man pleads guilty to conspiracy in interstate sex trafficking case

Published: Nov. 7, 2016 at 4:18 PM CST
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A Topeka man pleaded guilty to conspiring to operate an interstate sex trafficking business, Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said Monday.

Beall said in a news release Barry M. Johnson of Topeka pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy.

In his plea, Johnson admitted to conspiring with co-defendants to run a Topeka-based prostitution business. The business operated in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, Beall said in the news release.

As man as 20 women were working as prostitutes for the organization. It used websites, social media and cellphones to advertise sexual services and to keep track of prostitutes.

Johnson admitted to recruiting and grooming sex workers for the organization. He said he would notify the leader of the conspiracy he had a woman who was ready to work and they would negotiate how much he would be paid, according to the news release.

Sentencing for Johnson is set for Feb. 6. His recommended sentence is 46 months in federal prison.

Co-defendants Frank Boswell and Michaela Hekekia are set for trial Jan. 3. Co-defendants Rachel Flenniken and Sean P. Hall are awaiting sentencing. Shannon Nelson is set for sentencing Jan. 23.