Houston Man Pleads Guilty to Trafficking 13-Year-Old Female into New Orleans Area to Perform Commercial Sex Acts

Published 1:26 pm Thursday, November 3, 2022

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NEW ORLEANS –  U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that RANDI LEWIS (a/k/a “Teddy,” a/k/a “Teddy P.”), age 34, from Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty on November 2, 2022 before United States District Judge  Lance M. Africk to Count 2 of the indictment pending against him, charging LEWIS with sex trafficking of a child under the age of 14, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1591(a) and 1591(b)(1).  The charges stem from LEWIS’S role in bringing a thirteen-year-old female from Houston to New Orleans for the purpose of her engaging in commercial sex acts in June 2021.

According to court documents, LEWIS met his co-conspirator, Chelsea Gee, a female born in 2003, in about late 2019 or early 2020.  LEWIS recruited Gee to engage in commercial sex acts under his direction, and she complied.  LEWIS also instituted a series of rules Gee was to follow, including how to behave, what to wear, with whom she was allowed to interact (i.e., look at and speak to), and how much she was expected to earn from engaging in commercial sex acts daily. LEWIS routinely tracked Gee’s location using a location sharing cellular phone application.  LEWIS also regularly engaged in sexual acts with Gee.

Together, LEWIS and Gee met the minor victim, who was thirteen years old, in the Houston, Texas area not later than June 21, 2021.  At LEWIS’s direction, Gee recruited the minor victim to perform commercial sex acts also under LEWIS’s direction.  Soon thereafter, Gee introduced the victim to LEWIS.  After the victim agreed, LEWIS arranged for he, Gee, and the victim to travel to New Orleans on a Greyhound bus for the purpose of his co-conspirator and the victim to engage in commercial sex acts.  Between June 22, 2021, and June 24, 2021, Gee and the victim performed multiple commercial sex acts in the New Orleans area.  LEWIS required the minor victim to turn over all, or most, of the money she earned from commercial sex acts to LEWIS.  LEWIS and Gee gave the minor victim instruction and guidance on matters related to the successful performance of commercial sex activities, including ways to behave, what to wear, how to identify and avoid law enforcement, and how to best solicit and engage in commercial sex activities under LEWIS’S direction.

Acting at LEWIS’S direction, Gee and the minor victim solicited commercial sex “dates” in several ways.  First, they walked along streets soliciting customers.  Additionally, LEWIS created and caused to be created advertisements on an online classified ad service commonly used to advertise sexual services in exchange for money, through which LEWIS received telephone calls, text messages, and messages via social media applications inquiring about, scheduling, and arranging prostitution calls with his co-conspirator and the minor  victim.  LEWIS arranged for sexually explicit pictures of the  minor victim to be used in the advertisements.  LEWIS and his co-conspirator also gave the  minor victim illicit and mood-altering drugs, including marijuana, to numb her senses, control her behavior, and/or to encourage her to engage in commercial sex acts.  Law enforcement authorities recovered the minor victim at a hotel in Terrytown, Louisiana, on June 24, 2021.

LEWIS faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of  fifteen (15) years and up to a maximum term of life in prison,  a fine of up to $250,000.00, a lifetime of supervised release after imprisonment, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee.  LEWIS may also be required to register as a sex offender and make restitution payments to the minor victim.  Sentencing has been scheduled for March 8, 2023, at 2:00 pm before Judge Africk.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.  For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in this matter.  Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg is in charge of the prosecution.