February 8, 2018
Gainesville, FL – After a three-day trial, Arthur Larange Lee Jr., 34, of Gainesville, was convicted late yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Gainesville of sex trafficking by force and use of a facility of interstate commerce to promote prostitution. The verdict was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Lee, abducted a drug-addicted woman from the parking lot of a Gainesville church where she was attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. After taking the victim’s phone, he ordered her to drive to a nearby hotel where he took photographs of her for use in a Backpage.com advertisement. Lee told the victim he would “break her in,” after which he raped her, burned her, and committed other acts of violence against her. Lee then fed the victim small amounts of cocaine and instructed her that she had to pay off her “debt.” Over the span of two days, Lee forced and coerced the victim to engage in sexual acts with numerous “johns.” He kept all the money derived from the sex acts that took place at local hotels and private residences. While at one hotel, the victim texted a “john” who agreed to help her escape by picking her up outside the hotel. The victim then fled with Lee’s phone and called police. Responding officers were able to quickly locate and arrest Lee, who was still inside the hotel.
For the sex trafficking charges, Lee faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison. For using a facility of interstate commerce to promote prostitution, Lee faces a maximum of 5 years in prison. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 23, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. at the United States Courthouse in Gainesville.
The case was investigated by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Williams.