Man charged with 'selling' girl, 15, for sex in Bradenton

jdeleon@bradenton.comJanuary 29, 2014 

MANATEE -- A 28-year-old man has been charged with having sex with a 15-year-old girl and pimping her out for sex, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Elroy Johnson was arrested Monday, and faces charges of human trafficking, three counts of lewd lascivious battery on a child and possession of a photo of sexual performance by a child, according to a news release.

The sheriff's office said detectives on Jan. 20 began investigating the case involving a 15-year-old runaway. The teen was reported as a runaway by Manatee Children's Services on Jan. 17, according to the arrest report.

"The investigation revealed that the juvenile had sexual relations with Johnson and was being sold for sex by Johnson," the release states.

The teen told investigators that she was picked up by Johnson at about 6 p.m. Jan. 19 in the area of Martin Luther King Boulevard in Sarasota. She agreed to ride around with, according to the arrest report.

Johnson gave her marijuana to smoke, as well as alcohol, which she willingly drank but later told detectives she thinks it was laced with drugs, the sheriff's office said.

The victim saw an ad that Johnson put on a Web site with her photo and a phone number that she recognized as his, the sheriff's office said.

After having sex with Johnson for a second time, the victim was asked if she wanted to make some money in exchange for having sex with other men, agreeing to split the $200 fee.

The victim was then taken to an apartment where a man paid her the $200, but he then asked her to leave without having sex because she appeared to be on drugs and complained about stomach pain, making him uncomfortable, according to the report.

A judge Tuesday set bonds totaling $500,000 for Johnson. He remains in custody at the Manatee County jail.

"For the trafficking charge, there has to be coercion," Manatee County sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow said. "So we are basing that on the marijuana that was supplied to her."

The girl has a history of running away, Bristow said.

"She has been recovered as a runaway, she is now safe," Bristow said. "We are proceeding with the investigation, it is on-going."

Johnson's previous arrests include most recently an arrest on Nov. 11 on a charge of motor vehicle theft and on Aug. 16, 2012, for violation of parole on a marijuana trafficking charge.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.

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