A Royal Palm Beach man who called himself "King" was convicted of pimping women, keeping their money, and beating them when they didn't do as he said, sometimes even using a hair iron. He got 37 years in federal prison.
Jesse Lewis, 28, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for sex trafficking and slapped with another seven for firearms offenses. The charges were brought forth in April but date back to June 2013, when Lewis and a woman named "Diamond" approached a woman -- "K.A." -- outside of a Walgreens in Tampa, according to an affidavit. Lewis offered K.A. a way to make some money, and they went back to his hotel room to start a business venture.
But after posting some photos of K.A. on backpage.com, no johns responded, so the trio went to try their luck in South Florida.
Working out of a hotel in Hollywood, Lewis pimped out K.A. to several customers and kept the money for himself, according to the feds. They also say he choked her, slapped her, and forced her to look him in the eye. This went on for about a week until she escaped.
Lewis was also accused of beating Diamond, and they got into a fight that inspired Lewis to downsize his operation by leaving her behind and taking K.A. to a hotel in Dania Beach in June 2013. While there, K.A. was able to escape and get some help from police, which started the investigation into Lewis' activities.
During Lewis' April 2014 detention hearing, the feds brought additional evidence that he was engaged in horrific pimping acts as far back as 2010. The victim was unemployed and homeless at the time, so Lewis offered her a place to stay. He then tried to convince her to turn tricks, but she refused, according to the feds, but Lewis didn't take "no" for an answer. Instead, he beat her, put a gun to her head, and threatened to carve the word "liar" into her forehead with a knife.
Despite the accusations, somebody stuck up for Lewis earlier this year: His baby's mama. According to NBC 6 last summer, she said the women accusing him of violent sex trafficking were just haters.
"Jesse, he has two crazy ex-girlfriends that really don't like me, and they know he needs to be out here to help me take care of this baby," she told Broward Circuit Judge John Hurley.
But it looks like "King" won't be out for a while.
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E-mail him at Ray.Downs@browardpalmbeach.com.
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