Jermar White of Dayton sits in a Montgomery County Common Please courtroom as his sex trafficking trial starts on Tuesday.

Dayton man guilty in teen human trafficking case

UPDATE @ 4:30 p.m. (Sept. 15)

Jermar White was found guilty by a judge today in a teen sex trafficking case. 

The 32-year-old Dayton man will be sentenced in October to counts of trafficking in persons, compelling prostitution, pandering obscenity involving a minor and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. 

The offenses involved two juvenile females that White compelled to perform oral sex on him and pose for sexually-explicit photos.

The female co-defendant Iesha C. Heard was previously found guilty and will be sentenced Sept. 25.

EARLIER REPORT

A now 16-year-old girl testified Tuesday about how a friend of a friend’s boyfriend told her about getting paid money for sex, how she needed to practice on him and told her to undress and take photos for an advertisement.

The girl — who is not being named by this news organization because she is a minor and an alleged sex crime victim — was the second witness in the child sex trafficking trial of Jermar White that started in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

The girl testified that she smoked marijuana, drank alcohol and hung out in the basement of White’s sister’s home on Lilac Avenue in Dayton in early May 2016 and talked to a man she called “Shiloh,” aka White.

RELATED: Two indicted for sex trafficking of minors in Dayton

“He said that we would practice on him, like our (sexual) acts on him,” the girl testified, adding that later White forced her to finish giving him oral sex. “He said if we couldn’t be able to act on him, then we most likely wouldn’t want to act on strangers.”

White, 32, of Dayton, is on trial in front of Judge Timothy O’Connell. White faces two counts apiece of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, trafficking persons and compelling prostitution plus one count apiece of rape and pandering obscenity involving a minor.

The girl said she and her best friend began hanging out with White and White’s girlfriend, Iesha Heard, who is also charged in the case, when White started talking about how backpage.com worked.

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The girl testified that she, her friend and Heard were to be nicknamed “Royalty, Honestly and Loyalty” in semi-nude photos of all three which were to be used in an advertisement.

Beatrice Keeton, a counselor at Webster Street Academy, testified that she noticed that the girl missed school on a Monday.

Keeton also said that when the girl showed up the next day, May 10, 2016, she had nicer clothes on than usual and a lot more money.

Keeton said that, based on what she heard from the girl, she reported the conversation to a supervisor, who called police.

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During opening statements, Montgomery County assistant prosecutor Kelly Madzey told O’Connell that White’s goal was to “entice and recruit and encourage and lure two 15-year-old girls … into prostitution, into engaging in sex acts for money through a website called backpage.com.”

Madzey said that, as far as human trafficking: “This case is really how it starts.” Madzey said that White got his first victim to help him target and recruit other young girls.

“He either knew about their age or absolutely did not care,” Madzey said. “He was trying to get more girls to work for him … breaking down their will until they agreed.”

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Defense attorney Carl Goraleski told O’Connell the case was about natural desires, deceptions and the free-wheeling and open nature of activities in that house.

“They’ll be testimony about an individual’s desire to belong to something, to be somebody, for companionship, to be successful,” Goraleski said, adding that he thinks the judge won’t find credible evidence that White was a mastermind of the activity.

“The evidence, I believe in this case, will show deception on the part of the state’s witness, particularly, the co-defendant, Ms. Heard, but also by the minors involved in the situation, and the police.”

The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

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