- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 27, 2003

A New York man faces as long as 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to bringing teenagers to the District to work as prostitutes.

As part of a plea agreement, Roderick W. Jackson, 37, of Syracuse, N.Y., pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to two felony counts of pandering. In exchange for the guilty plea, federal prosecutors dropped nine other felony charges against Jackson.

U.S. Attorney Roscoe C. Howard Jr. hailed the conviction as a key success in the District’s effort to rid itself of prostitution.

“You go after the pimp and you can have an impact on the trade,” Mr. Howard said in a statement. “Let the message get out that pimps will be prosecuted if they bring their women into the District of Columbia.”

Jackson has eight prior convictions, including attempted felony assault and misdemeanor assault. He was on parole for another offense in May when prostitutes told D.C. police officers that Jackson had brought them from Syracuse to sell sex.

He was scheduled to go to trial Aug. 5 on charges of bringing four prostitutes, including a 16- and a 17-year-old, from New York in May.

Jackson told police he had made similar trips on at least six occasions, adding that he was paying one of the women with crack cocaine.

Wearing an orange D.C. Jail uniform, Jackson walked into a nearly empty courtroom for a brief hearing Thursday.

He stared down throughout the proceedings and spoke only to public defender Erica Hashimoto, who was representing him.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer had called the hearing to rule on Miss Hashimoto’s motions to dismiss evidence against Jackson.

Before presenting her arguments, Miss Hashimoto mentioned a pending plea agreement, saying her client had lacked time to discuss it with his family.

The agreement was set to expire that day.

Judge Collyer said she did not want to postpone the hearing because that would require postponing the trial, noting that witnesses were in danger.

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Toni Florence, had stated that one witness was assaulted during the weekend and believed the assault was retaliatory.

Judge Collyer gave Jackson an hour to call his family and discuss the agreement. When the court reconvened, he pleaded guilty.

The two counts carry five years each with no minimum sentence, a U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman said yesterday.

Miss Hashimoto was overheard telling the prosecutor that she believes “the most [Judge Collyer] can give him is three years on each” count.

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