BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Washington D.C. man pleaded guilty Tuesday to sex trafficking of a minor.
Leon R. Harrison, 56, of Washington D.C., pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor for having sex with a 15-year-old girl in exchange for money.
According to his plea agreement, between Aug. 9, 2016, and Feb. 7, 2018, Harrison used his Facebook account to send messages to hundreds of other Facebook users, offering them money in exchange for commercial sex.
Several users told Harrison that they were under the age of 18, and as young as 12.
Harrison continued to make requests even after they stated they were minors.
Harrison admitted that he met a girl online and began engaging in commercial sex with her beginning in 2016 or 2017 when she would have been 13 or 14.
Between October 9, 2017, and February 7, 2018, Harrison and the girl exchanged hundreds of messages over Facebook.
At that time, she a 15-year-old high school student in Maryland.
In the messages, Harrison repeatedly offered to pay her in exchange for having sex with him. In 12 instances he offered her between $40 and $60.
On February 6, 2018, the girl’s mother discovered the Facebook messages and contacted police. That day, an undercover police detective began operating the girl’s Facebook account.
On February 7, 2018, Harrison continued communicating with the girl’s Facebook account.
Harrison said that he would meet her that evening in exchange for $50 for sex.
When Harrison arrived at a pre-determined location, he was arrested in the parking lot.
Following his arrest, he was interviewed by police and admitted that he is HIV-positive.
As part of his plea agreement, Harrison must register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee and where he is a student.
Harrison and the government agreed that if the court accepts his plea, he will be sentenced to between 10 and 16 years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for May 29, 2019, at 9:15 a.m.