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Case #217 - Federal judge hands down 40-year sentence in human trafficking case

Kenner, LA|Sex-Trafficking Minors|Add Comment
By: John Simerman, nola.com
Benson Coriolant

A 30-year-old Orlando, Fla., man was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday for enticing a 14-year-old girl into prostitution by convincing her she was his girlfriend and plying her with alcohol, Ecstasy and other drugs. According to U.S. Attorney Dana Boente's office, Benson December "Haiti" Coriolant's conviction was the first for human sex trafficking in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The federal case stemmed from the arrest of the girl, identified in court papers only as "R.V.," in a Kenner hotel room in April 2010, according to an indictment handed up in 2011.

The indictment says Coriolant, using the tactics of a "finesse pimp," recruited the girl, who is now 18, sometime around 2009 and forced her into dozens of sex acts for money. Coriolant ordered R.V. to deposit the proceeds in a bank account and to account for all of her expenses in a journal.

He schooled her on what to charge, how to draw business -- in part through the backpage.com website -- how to steer clear of law enforcement and how to perform sexual acts, federal prosecutors said.

Early on, R.V. went by "Ariel." According to a sentencing report, Coriolant groomed the girl as his "bottom bitch," a term reflecting what he claimed was her status as his No. 1 prostitute.

Following her arrest in Kenner, R.V. went back to her family in Florida, but then Coriolant continued to direct her to prostitute through online "escort" classifieds. She returned to New Orleans by Greyhound bus, working under the pseudonym "Maryann Chavis," and was arrested soon afterward.

Coriolant was arrested in November 2011, only after he encouraged R.V. to post messages on his Facebook page, claiming she had lied to him about her age and that prostitution was her idea.

By then, federal prosecutors said, he knew that law enforcement was tracking him.

A unanimous jury last September convicted Coriolant on counts of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children and sex trafficking of children.

The FBI investigated the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a national initiative combating child sexual exploitation.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk imposed the sentence.

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