Admitted sex-trafficker sentenced to life

Source URL: http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2011-01-10/story/admitted-sex-trafficker-sentenced-life
By David Hunt

The teenage girl was held in a seedy Jacksonville motel room. Her captor stashed her clothes and kept her naked so she’d be less inclined to run.
He menaced her with a replica pistol, threatened to slice off her fingers and fed her crack-cocaine. He set her up with men who paid $20 for 15 minutes of sex with her.
He kept the money and told her he had killed someone before and would have no problem doing it again.
For all of Ian Sean Gordon’s hard-luck experiences — he was chronically unemployed, collecting disability, nursing a drug problem and unfit to care for his two children or pay child support — U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard said she could not look past what he did to the young girl who sat in her courtroom, crying at times, as the judge sentenced Gordon to life.
Gordon, 29, was charged with sex trafficking in May after the 15-year-old girl managed to escape him and call her parents. By that time, authorities estimate the girl was forced to service roughly 50 prostitution customers over the course of several weeks.
Gordon didn’t act alone. Melvin Eugene Friedman, 45, also was identified as a principal suspect in the case. Authorities said the girl was in drug treatment but ran away from the program and met up with Friedman at his home in Arlington.
Friedman, who is still awaiting trial, brought the girl to Gordon at a Philips Highway motel where he had been staying, authorities said.
Gordon’s lawyer, Paul Shorstein, tried to deflect some of the blame from Gordon because of the other man’s involvement and the girl’s already-existent drug habit.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mac Heavener said Gordon was “the worst of the worst” among the men arrested. Some were in the case because they’d paid for sex, but Gordon was arrested because he’d brutalized the teenager and made her into a commodity.
Heavener said Gordon even kept a picture of the teen on his cell phone, naked from the neck down, to show to potential customers.
“He’d sell 15 minutes of her time — pieces of her innocence and future — for $20 a pop,” Heavener said. “It was violent, brutal, cruel and unusual.”
The girl read a poem to the court that she wrote about the experience, saying her “body was infested with another man’s sin” and that she became “walking contraband” while under Gordon’s control. The Times-Union does not identify victims in sex crimes cases.
Shorstein stressed that Gordon was cooperative. He pleaded guilty in August so not to waste the court’s time with trial and, even without a search warrant, he’d handed his cell phone over to the authorities to show that he kept a naked picture of the girl.
Gordon apologized to the girl before he was sentenced.
The victim’s mother described her as an easy-going, fun-loving child.
“This man robbed us of our little girl,” she said.
Howard said in her four years on the federal bench, Gordon is the first person she’d sentenced to life.
“How anyone can think causing that sort of destruction to another individual for $20 this court simply cannot conceive,” Howard said.
david.hunt@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4025

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