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Columbia man charged with sex trafficking a minor

UPDATE 2/28: Kenneth Ronald Jones had his first court appearance at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Jones asked to be represented by a court-appointed defense attorney.

Jones is scheduled to be back in court 2 p.m. Friday for a detainment hearing.

Original Story: A Columbia man has been charged in federal court with sex trafficking a minor.

Kenneth Ronald Jones, 25, of Columbia, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City on Dec. 23. Jones was arrested on Monday at the Boone County Courthouse, where he appeared on an unrelated matter.

Jones, who remains in federal custody, will have his initial appearance in federal court at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

According to an affidavit that was filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, FBI agents learned on June 29, 2016, that a 17-year-old runaway from Wisconsin was being held against her will and forced into prostitution by Jones. She was located at a residence in Columbia and removed by law enforcement agents.

The victim told investigators that she met Jones in May 2016 at a party in Milwaukee, and agreed to travel with him to Columbia to engage in prostitution.

Although Jones knew that the victim was 17 years old, the affidavit says, he told everyone else at the brothel that the victim was 18 years old so that she would be allowed to work there.

Jones became increasingly verbally abusive and cruel, the affidavit says, and pressured the victim to see more clients. The victim said she wanted to stop prostituting herself after two weeks and told Jones on multiple occasions she did not want to prostitute anymore. Jones instructed the victim to keep making money. She said that she feared repercussions from Jones if she attempted to leave him.

The victim told investigators that Jones had left for Milwaukee the day before law enforcement took her from the Columbia residence.

Jones was arrested when he returned from Milwaukee for a Boone County court appearance today on an unrelated matter.

This case was investigated by the FBI.

ABC 17 News Team


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