Columbia man sentenced for selling homeless minor into prostitution

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 | 5:45 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A Columbia man and Kansas City woman were sentenced this week for selling a homeless teenage girl into prostitution, according to a news release from the Western District of Missouri U.S. Attorney's Office.

Eric Gathings, 37, was sentenced to 15 years in prison without parole Tuesday. Brandy Key, 40, was sentenced to 10 years in prison without parole Monday. 

In October, Gathings and Key both pleaded guilty to taking part in trafficking a minor in 2009. As part of the plea, Gathings agreed to give the government the $10,000 gained from selling the victim for sex, according to an October news release from the Western District of Missouri U.S. Attorney's Office.

The release also stated Gathings would have to pay restitution to the victim for counseling and medical costs. The court did not order for Gathings and Key to pay restitution for the victim at Gathing's sentencing, Don Ledford, spokesperson for the Western District of Missouri U.S. Attorney's Office, said in an email.

Gathings was originally arrested for a weapons charge but was able to continue selling the victim for sex through Key and their affiliation with a prostitution ring called Aleesha's Angels. Gathings used those earnings to make bond, according to a previous Missourian report. He was indicted for the trafficking charges soon after, special investigator for Cole County prosecutor's office Paul Schlup said. 

No further information was publicly available about how old the victim was or what kind of services were being provided for her.  

"All trafficking victims that are involved in the cases our office prosecutes receive whatever services they need from the agencies in our task force," Ledford said.

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