Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

One not guilty verdict won't stop prosecution of sex-trafficking cases

LARGO — Prosecutors plan to move ahead with more cases against what they say was a human trafficking and forced prostitution ring, even though a jury has acquitted one man.

"We're looking forward and we're still going to proceed," Assistant State Attorney Della Connolly said, adding that "I very much believe in my victims."

Colin Anthony Dyer, 37, was found not guilty of sexual battery and human trafficking. Prosecutors said he had raped a woman who worked as a dancer at the Vegas Showgirls strip club and who testified that she was expected to work as a prostitute inside private "VIP rooms" there.

Juror Victor Rendon of Largo said jurors felt three dancers made inconsistent statements, hurting their credibility.

For example, one dancer initially told police Dyer had grabbed her by the arm but testified this week that he choked her as well. Another apparently testified incorrectly about a double-locked door in an apartment where she said she was held. It was hard to believe one woman, who said she had been dancing in strip clubs since age 15, when she said she did not know how to tell the difference between a circumcised and uncircumcised penis, he said.

"None of them struck us as being really credible," he said.

Deciding about the human trafficking charges was more difficult than the sexual battery, Rendon said, because most jurors believed something improper did occur.

He also said Dyer, who testified in his own defense, did not seem fully knowledgeable about the scheme, which prosecutors said was mostly orchestrated by another man, Kenyatta Cornelous, who is awaiting trial. "I thought he was a dupe in the whole thing," Rendon said about Dyer.

Defense attorney Bryant Camareno said he believed the witnesses appeared to have embellished their stories.

Vegas Showgirls manager Jason Byers said in an interview that prostitution is not allowed at the club and denied the dancers' allegations. Asked why they would testify about prostitution, he said, "I think they were coerced into what they were supposed to say."

The case was watched by some Stetson University College of Law students who, by coincidence, were in the final days of a course on human trafficking. Professor Luz Nagle said several students who went to watch the case told her they were "shocked" by the outcome."

"I think that the students learned that this an evolving field in the law," she said.

Three more cases are pending, including the one against Cornelous.

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

One not guilty verdict won't stop prosecution of sex-trafficking cases 06/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 11, 2010 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Small helicopter crashes into Odessa home

    Accidents

    ODESSA — Firefighters and sheriff's deputies were investigating Monday after a small helicopter crashed into the roof of a house in northwest Hillsborough County.

    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  2. State investigation cites multiple failures in death of Largo child

    News

    LARGO — It was sweltering in the bedroom of the Largo mobile home the day a child welfare case manager visited in July.

    Liz Rutenbeck, 24, poses with her son William in a Facebook photo. Baby William Hendrickson IV died while his mother was in jail after police said his father left ihim in a sweltering room.  A state investigation into the boy's death found multiple failures on the part of the child welfare system.
  3. 'Siesta Key' star punched in face, not sure who did it

    News

    TAMPA —Alex Kompothecras, cast member on MTV's reality show "Siesta Key," tells police he was punched in the face outside a bar in Tampa's SoHo district.

    Alex Kompothecras, Juliette Porter, Pauly Apostolides, Madisson Hausburg, Chloe Trautman, Garrett Miller, Kelsey Owens and Brandon Gomes pose for a photo in Siesta Key in June before the debut of the MTV reality series Siesta Key. [
EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  4. Editorial: Senate health care bill would be disastrous for Florida

    Editorials

    The frantic effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something — anything — ranks raw politics over sound policy and threatens the health care of millions of Floridians. It is a desperate attempt to declare victory by shifting responsibility from the federal government …

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks in August in Doral.
  5. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-named prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times