Two Columbia men who were involved in the operation of a brothel on Vandiver Drive pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to using the internet to promote a prostitution business.
Barry Manthe, 65, and Ronald Clark, 67, both pleaded guilty after waiving their rights to a grand jury, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison from U.S. District Court for Western Missouri.
This comes after another Columbia man, Kenneth Ronald Jones, 26, pleaded guilty in federal court on Aug. 6 to sex trafficking of a minor.
The charges against the three men stemmed from an investigation by the FBI, Columbia Police Department and Boone County Sheriff’s Department.
On June 29, 2016, the FBI learned a 17-year-old from Wisconsin was being held against her will in the Columbia brothel, and Jones was forcing her into prostitution, according to the release.
The Missourian reported in May of 2017 that Manthe and Clark had operated the brothel for years. It was well known to both local law enforcement and neighbors.
The 17-year-old told investigators Manthe “paid for escort advertisements on the website Backpage for the prostitutes utilizing the brothel,” according to the release.
Clark collected $10 to $30 as a “door fee” from women who engaged in prostitution at the brothel, according to the release. Clark used the money to pay his monthly bills and shared the rest with Manthe.
The 17-year-old gave all the money she earned to either Clark or Jones, according to the release.
Manthe and Clark could be sentenced to up to five years in prison without parole, according to the news release.
Sentence hearings for both men will be set at a later date, according to the release.
Supervising editor is Tynan Stewart.