Four people are in jail and charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and another person was jailed on a charge of promoting prostitution of an under age girl.
Twenty-four-year-old Emanuel Dandre Wade, 25-year-old Charmaine Henderson, 21-year-old Ashley Shawntal Williams, and 26-year-old Darquesha Perry are all accused of prostituting girls, and in one instance, severely beating one of them.
This investigation began last June when detectives found a 15-year-old girl hiding in a motel lobby bathroom. From there, federal investigators followed leads and have now arrested four people, including a former cafeteria manager of Inspired For Excellence Academy. All four are accused of forcing teen girls into prostitution.
If convicted, all four defendants face up to life in federal prison for the conspiracy charge. A fifth person, Denzel Parrish was also arrested as part of this investigation, but he was charged in state court with compelling prostitution and aggravated promotion of prostitution.
Wade is also charged with five counts of sex trafficking of minors, while Henderson is charged with one count.
Henderson and Wade also face a minimum of 10 years and up to life imprisonment on each count of conviction.
Most parents were stunned to hear a former cafeteria manager at the charter school was charged in federal court with the sex trafficking of minors. Court documents read Perry would drive underage girls to northside motels to meet with so-called clients.
Perry is also accused of working as a prostitute herself.
Federal agents say Perry and several others were working for Wade. Court records read Wade lured teenage girls with promises of modeling jobs.
Investigators say Wade then put provocative pictures of the girls on websites like backpage.com, offering their services as escorts at different motels along the North Freeway.
Federal agents say Wade even bought condoms for the girls.
One 15-year-old girl told federal agents she was forced to sleep with 10 men in one day. Another 14-year-old girl told investigators "she was severely beaten on multiple occasions, and forced to prostitute."
HISD released a statement to Local 2 which read, "HISD is aware that a former employee, Darquesha Perry, has been indicted for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors by the U.S. Attorney's office. Perry worked as a food service attendant from April 2012 through January 2014 when she was terminated for misconduct. The incident was unrelated to the charges she is currently facing. As the safety of our students is critical, the district is coordinating with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office during the ongoing investigation."
Keith Williams, a parent said, "If the facts are true then it's horrible, horrible. If they're not true then thank God. Let's just hope that they're not true."
Federal agents say even though Perry worked at this school, they have found no evidence that she recruited any students from the campus.
School administrators also point out Perry was not an employee of the school, but a contract worker for HISD. Perry has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Meantime, Wade appeared before a federal judge this Wednesday and also pleaded not guilty.
Authorities say all charges also carry as possible punishment a fine of up to $250,000.