Crime & Courts

Charlotte man sentenced to 18-plus years for sex trafficking

A Charlotte man who prosecutors said recruited an underage teen to become a prostitute has been ordered to serve more than 18 years in prison for sex trafficking.

Juan Brandon Gray-Sommerville, 25, was sentenced late Tuesday in a federal courtroom in Charlotte to 18 years and nine months in prison. He had been convicted by a jury in August 2013 on one count of sex trafficking of a minor.

According to court documents and testimony during the trial and sentencing hearing, Gray-Sommerville contacted the young girl in March 2012 through social media. He began exchanging text messages with the girl, encouraging her to meet with him, prosecutors said.

On March 13, 2012, court records show, Gray-Sommerville and his girlfriend traveled to an unspecified town outside Charlotte and picked up the girl in front of her school. Prosecutors said Gray-Sommerville then enticed the girl to come to Charlotte, offering her money and marijuana.

According to testimony from the trial, the three checked into a motel in Charlotte, and Gray-Sommerville created an online advertisement, recruiting clients to engage in sex acts with the girl.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police received a 911 call from the girl and responded to the motel, but Gray-Sommerville had fled, prosecutors said. Phone records and a search of Gray-Sommerville’s computer linked him to the girl, according to prosecutors.

During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad said Gray-Sommerville knowingly testified falsely during his trial about whether he knew that the girl was a minor.

All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.