Columbia man pleads guilty to child sex trafficking

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | 5:36 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — A Columbia man has pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking, admitting that he recruited a homeless girl into prostitution.

The U.S. Attorney's office said Eric Gathings, 37, faces up to 15 years without parole after entering the plea Wednesday in federal court. He must also pay restitution to the victim.

Prosecutors said Gathings admitted to recruiting the girl in 2009 and giving her a place to live while she sold herself for sex and gave him the earnings.

At one point, authorities said, Gathings was jailed on a weapons charge but continued to sell the girl through an organized prostitution ring. Prosecutors said he used her earnings to help him make bond.


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