LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A teen who said she was one of two girls Maryland authorities believe were caught up in a human trafficking scheme reached out to KARK News to tell us she’s no victim.
“I never told them he had me doing sex appointments,” she said, her tone emphatic even as her eyes darted.
This Arkansas teenager celebrated her 19th birthday Sunday. She told us that just days before that she was sitting in police custody after a 911 call for domestic violence led to the man she was with being arrested for human trafficking in Maryland.
“I’m not going to let them tell me he was selling us because he wasn’t ,” she said.
The girl contacted us, anxious to speak on camera to clear the name of 39-year-old Charlton Jeanpierre. Law enforcement still consider her a sexual assault victim, so we’re concealing her identity. But according to her, the authorities have it wrong. She said JeanPierre and her best friend picked her up in Little Rock to go back to Maryland about a month ago. According to her, she had agreed to live with them to have an open relationship.
“That’s my boyfriend and I want him home, basically,” she said. “I want him to know I’ll do whatever I can to clear his name.”
Police in Howard County, Maryland, say the tell-tale signs pointed to human trafficking in this case.
“He had both girls’ identification in his wallet, that’s a sign. He had lots of phones, lots of cash,” said spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn. “Our investigators are trained to recognize this. And we want to send a message that this type of illegal activity will not be tolerated.”
Police also said that one of the girls, during an interview with officers, admitted JeanPierre would take her to appointments to have sex for money and then she would turn over the cash. The teen we spoke with said she was the one who talked to police, but she denied telling them her body was sold for money.
According to her, she lost her ID and the condoms police confiscated were hers.
“I’m a sexually active woman. Of course, I’m going to use condoms to protect myself,” she said.
She claimed she was drunk the night of April 15, picked a fight with her girl friend and JeanPierre attempted to break up the altercation. That’s when, she alleged, a concerned neighbor put in a call to 911 about domestic violence. When police arrived, she said, she lied.
“I remember saying that I was selling (expletive) that I hitchhiked a ride, and they got him for human trafficking,” she said.
The girl is adamant that she was never sold for sex nor expected to exchange her body for the goods her boyfriend bestowed on her — like shoes and a trip to California.
“I didn’t have to spend any of my money because he was taking care of both of us,” she said. “He would take us to get our nails done and our hair. He took care of his women.”
“And you didn’t have to do anything in exchange?” this reporter asked.
“No. No. Besides what, having sex with him? All three of us having sex together – he’s going to take care of two women he’s having sex with.”
According to her, she spent a night in a shelter for battered women and those being protected from their pimps. The next day, she said, she was given a bus ticket to return home.
“If he’s as bad a guy as they say he is, why am I not in protective custody. I’m here. If I thought he was going to harm me, I wouldn’t have come back. He knows where I stay. He’s a good man.”
But the girl also admitted she wouldn’t tell, even if she had been expected to sell herself.
“I’m not a snitch. If he did something or she did something, I don’t know,” she said.
“If they had done something to you, do you feel like you could tell the police?” this reporter asked.
“No. I’m not going to say anything,” she said. “What for? I’m not dead. I’m just saying. I’m not dead. I’m still alive.”
We’ve reached out to Howard County Police regarding the girl’s allegations. We’re waiting on a response. JeanPierre remains behind bars, facing multiple counts of prostitution and human trafficking. The teen told us her friend remains in Maryland, living where the three of them stayed together.