BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – An Alabama man pleaded guilty in federal court to charges that he paid the father of a 15-year-old boy so that he could have sexual contact with the teen.
Billy Edwards, 63, pleaded guilty to charges of commercial sex trafficking, coercion, and enticement of a minor to engage in prostitution and being a convicted felon in possession of firearms, according to WHNT.
The 38-year-old father of the teen is charged with commercial sex trafficking and coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in prostitution. In order to protect the identity of the minor, his father is not being identified in this report.
“The trafficking of any human being, especially a child, is unconscionable, unthinkable, and unforgivable,” U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said. “Our Human Trafficking Task Force remains committed to bringing these despicable traffickers to justice and we have reserved bed space in prison for them all, which will only serve as temporary quarters on their road to perdition.”
In his plea agreement, Edwards acknowledged that he began paying the teen’s father to have sexual encounters with his son in 2014.
Officials say those encounters continued for several months until Edwards stopped paying to have them. According to the plea agreement, the boy’s father began threatening to show law enforcement the cellphone communications between Edwards and the child unless Edwards paid.
Edwards’ plea agreement says Edwards agreed to make a series of payments totaling $20,000 in exchange for the cellphone.
The teen told law enforcement about the sex trafficking in May 2017. In September 2017, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Edwards’ residence and found multiple firearms. Edwards was previously convicted of a felony and conspiracy to commit fraud in 2005.
Edwards’ sentencing date is scheduled for September 12.