Prattville Man Found Guilty of Sex Trafficking of a Minor Charges
On Thursday, February 8, Michael Graham Lowe, 25, of Prattville, was found guilty by a federal jury of sex trafficking of a minor and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr.
Previously, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Lowe and his co-defendant, Joshua David Rose, after hearing evidence that the two recruited, enticed, and transported a minor victim knowing that the victim was under the age of 18 and would be engaging in a commercial sex act. Joshua Rose, 29, also from Prattville, pled guilty to sex trafficking of a minor in August 2017.
According to evidence presented at the four-day trial, Lowe was friends with the 17-year old minor victim and in May 2016, he introduced the victim to co-defendant Rose at a motel in Montgomery. On May 24 and 25, 2016, Rose took photographs of the victim and placed an ad on the classified advertising website Backpage.com.
Lowe and Rose transported the minor victim to perform commercial sex acts in Montgomery and the surrounding areas and stood guard outside during the acts. Rose and Lowe used the money earned by the minor victim to purchase illegal narcotics.
On May 26, 2016, the victim became upset and refused to perform further commercial sex acts. Lowe then transported the victim from the motel leaving her at a local residence.
After hearing the evidence presented at trial, the jury found Lowe guilty of both counts in the federal indictment.
For the sex trafficking of a minor charge, Lowe faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison. For the conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, Lowe faces up to life in prison. Lowe is in the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending a sentencing hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.
“These human traffickers prostituted a child in order to have the money to feed their drug habit,” stated U.S. Attorney Franklin.
“We will not allow the children of this District to be preyed-upon, prostituted and used by predators. This office will continue to use all resources necessary to take these criminals off the streets and ensure the safety of our children.”
“The Prattville Police Department is very thankful for the working relationship we have with the U.S Attorney’s Office and all the agencies involved in this case,” stated Prattville Police Chief Mark Thompson. “This should send a strong message to the criminal element committing these types of crime that we will find them and put them away. We are very proud of our Criminal Intelligent Unit for the effort put into this case. It shows that the Prattville PD is proactive and we will continue to develop better ways to combat crime.”
“Human trafficking is a horrific crime that traps its victims in a life of misery and abuse,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall.
“This conviction is the result of a long and painstaking investigation by agents and officers who cared deeply about the harm being caused to the young victim, and were determined to stop this from happening to her and to others. I am thankful for the diligence of the Prattville Police Department, which initiated this case, working with agents of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and assisted by the Montgomery Police Department. I also want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for its successful prosecution to bring this criminal to justice. As Alabama’s Attorney General, I am committed to continue this kind of cooperative and dedicated teamwork among agencies, which is the key to making our state a safer place.”
“HSI will tirelessly work to investigate and bring to justice anyone who thinks they can get away with preying upon our children for their sexual gratification,” said Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas M. Annello. “This case highlights the exceptional commitment and devotion of the men and women who pursue the perpetrators of these depraved crimes every day.”
This case was jointly investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Prattville Police Department, and the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, with assistance from the United States Marshal’s Service and Montgomery Police Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hollie Worley Reed of the Middle District of Alabama and Trial Attorney Leslie Williams Fisher of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.