INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Three women pleaded guilty in Marion Superior Court in a human trafficking case that will likely yield no additional jail time, but spare a teenage girl the trauma of facing her victimizers in a trial.
Ciera Beauchamp, Brandi Beauchamp and Ashley Breedlove all pleaded guilty to reduced charges for their roles in forcing a 16-year-old to participate in prostitution last summer based out of a south side apartment.
The girl, identified by her initials FS, told IMPD that she was forced into prostitution after Ciera Beauchamp was named her legal guardian.
“FS’s prostitution was their only source of income for rent and the bills,” read the Probable Cause Affidavit that was filed last November. “FS stated Beauchamp also has a small gun…a small black straight barrel handgun…and has threatened her and her family with it.”
The Beauchamp sisters were represented by Attorney Mitchell Solomon who negotiated guilty pleas to reduced counts of promoting prostitution.
“At one of the depositions we reached out to the victim at which time both girls, Brandi and Ciera, the two sisters, extended their sympathies and felt sorry for their actions,” said Solomon. “We did not want to trouble the young girl with going ahead with the trial to force her to relive the entire incident over again.”
Ciera Beauchamp will likely be sentenced to two years of home detention. Brandi Beauchamp faces two years of probation. Both women will be sentenced on May 17.
Breedlove pleaded guilty to assisting in a criminal act and received one year of probation.
State Representative Karlee Macer followed the Beauchamp case and said victims are often reluctant to testify in court against the people who forced them into prostitution.
“When they become victimized, it is such a tough tough time for them to feel like they can come forward,” she said. “They are so beaten down and so overwhelmed by what has happened to them a lot of times that they just have so much fear and anxiety that they prefer and understandably shut down in many ways.”
Macer has introduced legislation to tighten up Indiana’s Age of Consent laws which she says makes it too easy for older adults to victimize teens and coerce or force them to become prostitutes.
“For 16 and 17-year-olds, they can become victims very quickly of human trafficking because of the loophole in the age of consent,” said Macer who is concerned the age of legal consent doesn’t protect a 17-year-old prostitute the way it would a young child forced to have sex for money. “Certainly it is an opportunity for people to prey on our children in the state by befriending them and then seducing them into this unfortunate terrible situation for them that is so difficult to get out.
“What we really need to discuss is the people who are buying these young ladies, who are purchasing young children, in regards to using them.”
The Indianapolis democrat said legislators are reluctant to beef up the consent law because they fear it will be used to prosecute boyfriends only slight older than their teenage girls, though Macer’s intentions are to target sex partners who are several years senior to their victims.
The Beauchamp sisters and Breedlove will receive credit for jail time dating back to their arrests.
Ciera Beauchamp’s gun will be destroyed.
The Marion County Prosecutor's office issued the following statement:
"Human trafficking is an unfortunate reality in our community that we take seriously. In response to the need in Marion County, our office has dedicated a deputy prosecutor who focuses on this crime and assisting the victims involved to escape their exploitation. The first human trafficking conviction in Indiana was prosecuted by our office in 2012, and we have worked with Indiana legislators to improve the criminal provisions regarding such activity. We continue to actively work with state and federal partners to address human trafficking through the criminal justice system, public education, and providing services to victims."