Crime

KC man who allegedly ‘groomed’ teen for prostitution is charged with sex trafficking

On Monday, a trial began in U.S. District Court in Kansas City in a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of a man shot by police in 2010.
On Monday, a trial began in U.S. District Court in Kansas City in a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of a man shot by police in 2010. File photo

A Kansas City man called “Fatz” has been charged with the sex trafficking of a 14-year-old Missouri girl who had run away from home.

Twenty-four-year-old Corey Lavelle Smith, aka “Fatz,” was arrested Wednesday after a high-speed police chase in central Kansas City.

The teen girl was with him, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City.

Agents with the Department of Homeland Security began investigating on Monday when they got a tip that the girl, who had absconded from a drug treatment facility in Jefferson City was being used as a prostitute.

They learned that the girl, identified in court documents as FV1, had been injured in a Blue Springs traffic crash on Dec. 13.

At the hospital, she told a nurse that she had been having sex for money and had been physically forced to have sex.

The court documents don’t say if that was reported to police, but the girl had left the hospital without her personal effects, including a cell phone.

On Tuesday, agents obtained the phone from the hospital and found it had been used in a text conversation with another person in Mississippi.

They contacted another teen girl in Mississippi, who told them she had been friends with FV1 before leaving Kansas City and returning home.

She gave the agents FV1’s new phone number.

They then began to “ping” the number and traced it to the area of 35th Street and the Paseo.

While doing surveillance in the area Wednesday, they spotted Smith, the girl and another person get into a vehicle. When the agents approached, Smith drove off at a high rate of speed.

They were stopped at 39th Street and Forest Avenue.

Smith allegedly told the agents that he was taking the girl to meet someone for sex when they were stopped. He told them she had engaged in six “commercial sex acts” in the past week, according to the allegations.

The girl told investigators Smith had been her pimp since August.

She said she told Smith she was 16 and that he “groomed her” into the sex trade.

“Smith provided her with drugs, instructed FV1 to lie to people about her young age, and used food deprivation to gain compliance from FV1,” an agent reported in the court documents.

He would lock her in their apartment at 35th and the Paseo when he left and kept most of the money she earned, she told the agents.

She estimated that he had taken her to perform sex acts for money at least 10 times in the past week. Those transactions occurred across the Kansas City area.

Agents noted that even while they were questioning her, potential customers were calling her cell phone.

Smith made an initial court appearance Thursday and is being held without bond pending a Jan. 15 detention hearing.

Tony Rizzo covers federal and state courts for The Kansas City Star, where he has been a reporter for more than 30 years. He is a Kansas City native and veteran of the U.S. Army.

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