Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Palm Harbor man gets six years for helping underage girls prostitute themselves

PALM HARBOR — A Palm Harbor man has been sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to charges based on allegations that he helped minor girls prostitute themselves through Internet classified ads.

James Perdue, 62, had pleaded guilty to charges including procuring a minor for prostitution, child abuse, and possession of illegal drugs. He was sentenced last month and has been handed over to the Florida Department of Corrections, according to his lawyer, J. Jason Bangos of Clearwater.

At the time of his arrest, Pinellas County sheriff's deputies said Perdue helped two minor girls advertise sexual services using the website The site has attracted scrutiny from law enforcement officials across the country who say it plays an outsize role in online ads for prostitutes, many of them teen girls.

Perdue had previously been arrested in 2007, according to the Sheriff's Office, when a deputy conducting a traffic stop discovered that he was wearing a sex toy while driving around with a teen girl. Perdue is also facing outstanding drug charges in Tennesee, Bangos said.

Bangos said Perdue had made some unwise decisions based on an ongoing methamphetamine habit. But he said his client had good intentions, and was only trying to help the minor girls engage in prostitution safely.

"The guy smokes meth. That's his bag; that's his deal," Bangos said. "It affected his judgment."

Two other adults have also been charged in connection with the case.

Mikki Lightsey Pitts, a 50-year-old Palm Harbor woman who lived in the same neighborhood as Perdue, is awaiting trial on misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a child. Authorities say that Pitts also helped the minor girls use the Internet to advertise sex for sale.

Palm Harbor resident Michael Bowers, 19, was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child, a misdemeanor. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year in jail, according to court records. Investigators said Bowers acted as "security" for the girls during their meetings with clients.

Peter Jamison can be reached at or (727) 445-4157.

Palm Harbor man gets six years for helping underage girls prostitute themselves 12/05/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 7:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs start strong vs. Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — On his worst pass of Thursday's preseason game against the Jaguars, Jameis Winston threw a ball from the seat of his pants toward the end zone and it appeared to be intercepted by safety Barry Church.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown of the first half on a 2-yard run, squeaking past Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter.
  2. Evening update: Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic, second wave follows


    UPDATE: At 8 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Trump 'beautiful statues' tweets roil Tampa Bay's own Confederate debate


    It started Thursday at 9:07 a.m., as it does so often these days, with a tweet:

    The Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument stands in front of the old Hillsborough County Courthouse. Hillsborough County Commissioners voted 4-2 last month to move it to a private cemetery in Brandon before voting again this week to put a deadline on a public sector fundraising campaign to pay part of the cost. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The signs of frustration were readily apparent as the Rays trudged toward home Thursday after another game littered with squandered opportunities evolved into another wasted day in the wild-card race with a 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays.

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter reacts as Justin Smoak circles the bases after hitting a go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth.
  5. Spanish PM voices solidarity with Barcelona


    BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says his country is mourning in solidarity with the city of Barcelona and other cities in Europe that have been hit by deadly extremist attacks.

    An injured person is treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. [Associated Press]