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Detective at human trafficking trial says suspect detailed how dancers' lives were controlled

LARGO — The man on trial in a sexual battery and human trafficking case admitted that exotic dancers who stayed in his apartment were not allowed to leave, have visitors or make telephone calls, a detective testified Wednesday.

The only exceptions were when leaders of the trafficking group drove the dancers to work in strip clubs, to get their nails done, or to get food or other items, said the Pinellas sheriff's detective, whom the Times is not identifying because he works undercover.

This testimony came in the second day of trial for Colin Anthony Dyer, 37. Authorities say Dyer was a player — but not the ringleader — in a scheme to force young women into prostitution at a strip club.

The detective said Dyer had agreed to speak to him, with a lawyer present, in an interview that lasted about six hours. Under cross-examination on Wednesday, the detective acknowledged Dyer told him those things after he said Dyer "would be a better witness than a defendant" in the case — perhaps hinting that he wouldn't be charged.

Dyer is expected to take the stand in his own defense when the trial resumes today.

Also on Wednesday, the 19-year-old woman who said she was raped and beaten by Dyer, and forced to be a prostitute in the Vegas Showgirls strip club near St. Petersburg, acknowledged that she had been working since she was 15 as an exotic dancer.

The woman said she lied to her parents about where she was when dancing, and that she lied to the club managers about her true age.

She said she worked at clubs called Utopia and Atlantis, beginning at age 15, and she worked at another club called Baby Dolls when she was 18.

The woman said the ordeal in which she was beaten, raped and forced to work as a prostitute inside Vegas Showgirls began Feb. 16, 2009, and lasted 10 days.

Her father also testified on Wednesday and told the story of how he rescued his daughter from Vegas Showgirls after getting a secret call from her. He said the staff tried to stop him from removing her, but he rushed her into his car anyway. She called police shortly afterward.

Authorities say Dyer was part of a group led by Kenyatta Cornelous, whose trial date has not been set, that recruited women to work at Vegas Showgirls and possibly others. Inside the club, the woman says, she was expected to give sex to customers. A manager at Vegas Showgirls has denied the allegations about prostitution at the club.

Curtis Krueger can be reached at (727) 893-8232 or ckrueger@sptimes.com.

Detective at human trafficking trial says suspect detailed how dancers' lives were controlled 06/09/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 10:09pm]
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