Atlanta Go-Go Boy Convicted on Human Trafficking Charges
A go-go dancer who worked at a popular gay bar in Atlanta, Ga., was found guilty on human trafficking charges and could spend between 25 to 50 years behind bars, the Douglas County (Georgia) Sentinel reported.
Steven Lemery, who was a former stripper at Atlanta's BJ Roosters, was also convicted on aggravated child molestation charges and could be sentenced to prison for 25 years to life.
The newspaper points out that it took a jury less than two hours to find Lemery, 38, guilty on five counts of human trafficking, three counts of aggravated child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes and pandering by compulsion.
"The victims in this case were often very reluctant to testify and tell people what happened to them," Assistant District Attorney Rachel Ackley said. "It is very traumatic to have to go into detail on the stand and face the humiliation and embarrassment of having been taken in and falling victim to this man."
Lemery was accused of luring teens on the Internet to his home for sexual encounters and even pimped them out for homosexual prostitution. He was arrested in March 2011 along with Christopher Thomas Lynch, an Atlanta-based drag queen also known as Pasha Nicole.
According to the investigation conducted by law enforcement from Douglas, Ga., the victims came from Alabama and South Carolina as well as Georgia. Lemerey used social networking websites, including Facebook and MySpace, to lure the teens to his home. After having sex, he would not allow the boys to leave. He allegedly did not feed them and kept them locked in a closet. Some of the victims were as young as 15.
Douglas, Ga., is about 200 miles south of Atlanta.
Lynch. who lived with Lemery, was also accused for forcing his victims to have sex with men for money and was sentenced to 30 years for pleading guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, pimping a victim under the age of 18 and pandering by compulsion. The first 14 years of his sentence will be in prison.
After Lemery was convicted of the crimes, his attorney, Tracey D. Gibson, said he was shocked by the results.
"My client took it very, very hard," Gibson said. "But as I take a step back, I see how it is a very hard case to defense because the law is very broad and new. If you look at it, there are a lot of other cases that could be classified as human trafficking, but they aren't. I think that's why it needs to be looked at and more carefully defined."
The Sentinel notes that Lemery's case could be "one of the first convictions of human trafficking of males for sexual purpose's since the charge became law."