A Los Angeles man accused of human trafficking of teenage girls as young as 13 for commercial sex was charged last Thursday with 14 felony counts. Raylonzo Roberts, 40, pleaded not guilty to six counts of human trafficking of a minor for a commercial sex act, three counts of committing a lewd act on a child, two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count each of pandering by procuring a minor under 16, pimping a minor 16 or older and assault with a firearm. Prosecutors allege that Roberts sexually trafficked or sexually assaulted eight girls ranging in age from 13 to 17 between August 2011 and this July, and that he assaulted a 23-year-old woman with a firearm in March.
Prosecutors contend that he physically assaulted two of the girls – one because she failed to make enough money and another because she left him to work for another pimp. The case stemmed from an ongoing investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department’s South Bureau Human Trafficking unit and the Long Beach Police Department. Roberts — who has remained behind bars since his arrest Monday – is due back in court Sept. 14 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial. If convicted, he could face up to life in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.