Crime

Spanaway man charged with prostituting teen girls

An 18-year-old Spanaway man charged with prostituting teenage girls was arrested Wednesday after two weeks on the run.

Michael Williams was expected to appear Thursday (Jan. 8) in Pierce County Superior Court to be arraigned on two counts of first-degree human trafficking, one count of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, and one count of second-degree promoting prostitution.

A co-defendant, Curtis Escalante, 23, has pleaded not guilty to similar charges.

Police arrested Escalante on Dec. 24 after a 15-year-old girl escaped from a motel room and asked her mother for help.

The mother browsed social media accounts belonging to Escalante and Williams and then went to the motel where her daughter had been held, according to court records.

While there, she spotted Escalante’s vehicle and called police.

Officers stopped the car and found Escalante, a 16-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman inside. The girl, who police said also was being prostituted, refused to speak with officers.

Escalante had a cellphone that had been used to set up online advertisements for the girls on websites such as Backpage.com, records show.

Escalante was taken into custody and an arrest warrant was issued for Williams.

Prosecutors allege the men took the two teen girls to a nice dinner and then to a motel, where they allegedly took partially nude photographs for the ads.

Williams is accused of renting the motel rooms.

The girls said they were taken to Tacoma, Lacey, Spanaway, Federal Way and Burien to have sex with men.

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