A Sacramento man pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor in federal court on Friday, after authorities say he picked up a teenage girl fleeing a group home and advertised her on prostitution websites, according to the Department of Justice.
Sacramento police, working with the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, arrested 33-year-old William Morgan Banks on June 11, 2015, after his victim was recovered in a sting operation just days earlier.
Prosecutors allege that on June 6, 2015, Banks picked up the victim as she fled from a group home in Fullerton, where she had been living since her release from Sacramento County Juvenile Hall following an earlier prostitution sting operation.
Shortly after, photos of the victim appeared in online prostitution advertisements in Fresno and Sacramento, along with a phone number associated with Banks, prosecutors said.
Banks told investigators he had known the victim since she was age 16.
Further investigation uncovered “numerous prostitution-related text messages between, Banks, the victim, and men interested in engaging in commercial sex acts,” according to the US Attorney’s Office.
At the time of his arrest, Banks was on active parole for prostitution-related charges in New Mexico. He was booked without bail at the Sacramento County Jail.
Banks is scheduled to be sentenced July 6. He faces a minimum statutory penalty of 10 years and a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the US Attorney’s Office.