Janesville couple accused of sexually exploiting Walworth County runaway
JANESVILLE—Two women were engaged in prostitution at a south-side Janesville apartment for the past few months, police believe, and a 16-year-old girl joined them in December.
Police on Thursday arrested Patrick XL Cooper, 27, and Erica L. White, 26, both of 2338 Center Ave., upper.
Both were charged in Rock County Court later in the day with soliciting a child for prostitution, but a prosecutor called Cooper "the ringleader" in the offense.
The girl, a runaway from Walworth County, had sex for money with four or five clients a day since mid-December, she told police. On Jan. 4, she called her mother, who picked her up, police said.
The girl said she had sex with men in the apartment's living room or in a spare bedroom, which authorities described as having a box spring and mattress on the floor. She disposed of used condoms in a yellow plastic bag hanging on a closet door.
The bag and seven cellphones were among items confiscated in a search Thursday.
The girl said she at first resisted, but she said Cooper told her something bad would happen to her if she didn't cooperate, the criminal complaint states. White also encouraged her to do what she was told, the complaint states.
White worked as a prostitute and convinced another woman to do so as well, the complaint indicates.
Police first became aware of the situation from an anonymous tipster Jan. 3, a search warrant document states.
Police interviewed the girl at a Waukesha County shelter Thursday. She told them she met White at a house party in Janesville early in December.
The girl told White she was 18 and had been kicked out of her home, and White offered her a place to stay, police said. Cooper showed up soon thereafter,
The girl said “other girls” started showing up at the apartment, and Cooper acted as their pimp, posting notices on a website with pseudonyms for the women, documents state.
White worked under the names Pleasure and Melody, documents indicate. The teen's alias was Tatiana.
Janesville Deputy Police Chief Dan Davis said police have no indication there were any other prostitutes other than the girl and the two women.
As for arresting the men who paid for sex, Davis said: “I don't know if the investigation is going to provide us with enough information to get there or not, but we're continuing to investigate, and it may.”
Cooper, who went by the nickname Gotti, according to court documents, also was charged with possession of child pornography. It was not clear from the documents what the pornography was.
The teen told investigators Cooper would phone-message pictures of her, White and the other woman to prospective clients, but Davis said the photos were only of the women posing.
The prostitutes would meet clients in the nearby parking lot of Community Action Daycare, 2230 Center Ave., and walk back to their residence to have sex, according to a court document.
The girl told police the men paid $75, $120 or $200, depending on the length of their visits, and Cooper took 60 percent of the cash.
The girl told police the men always used condoms with her, according to the complaint. She said Cooper supplied her with cocaine, marijuana and other drugs.
In court Friday, Cooper was ordered held on a $10,000 cash bond. Assistant district attorney Anne Nack said he had a criminal record in Chicago with arrests for assault and drug trafficking and would be a flight risk.
Cooper's last conviction was in 2007, he has lived in Janesville for four or five years, and his mother, aunts and cousins all live in the Janesville area, Cooper's attorney said.
Court Commissioner Stephen Meyer ordered Cooper to have no weapons, no contact with juveniles, not use a cellphone and not use the Internet. He faces a preliminary hearing Jan. 21.
White also is a flight risk, Nack said, but she has no criminal record.
White has relatives here, cares for an elderly grandfather at the Center Avenue address and has lived here five years, her attorney said.
Meyer allowed White out of jail on a $5,000 signature bond. She also is to have no contacts with juveniles. Her next court date is Wednesday.
This article was revised Jan. 10, 2013, to reflect the following correction:
TEEN IS FROM WALWORTH COUNTY
An initial report from police listed an incorrect county of residence for the teen. The teen is from Walworth County.