Rodney Cleary and Juan A. Williams promised to a help a 23-year-old woman get back on her feet after she spent some time at a battered women's shelter in Waukesha, a criminal complaint alleges.
Little did that woman know that Cleary, 26, of Milwaukee and Williams, 30, of Waukesha would force her into prostitution, according to the complaint, and control her through fear, intimidation, physical violence and drugs.
Their alleged reign of terror over the woman was exposed during an investigation that began last fall after police reportedly found the woman drugged and mostly naked at a Brookfield motel.
Cleary and Williams were charged April 14 in Waukesha County Circuit Court with one felony count each of human trafficking. That crime carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
According to the complaint, the woman told police last October when they found her at a Motel 6 in Brookfield that she had been forced into prostitution and was afraid she would have to see other men at the motel that night. Those men, she said, would have sex with her and then force her to pose for nude pictures, which would be posted to a website frequently used to promote prostitution.
She was taken to the hospital and Williams' DNA was collected from her body, the complaint said. She also reportedly told officers she had been pimped out and sexually assaulted in Waukesha before the incident at the motel.
The woman told police in the complaint that she met Cleary and Williams in August 2015 through another resident at the Waukesha Women's Center. They offered her a place to stay and money to help her get back on her feet, the complaint said.
But instead, Cleary and Williams allegedly arranged several prostitution dates for the woman at various locations around the city, including parking lots at the public library, a social services center, a Dollar Store and a back road near a fast-food restaurant. The woman estimated in the complaint that she had sex with about 30 different male "customers" from September to October 2015.
Cleary and Williams kept all the money the woman was paid for the sexual encounters, the complaint said.
Police reportedly found seminude photos of the woman in ads with provocative titles on the prostitution website. The photos had been posted there, according to the complaint, by someone with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online court records indicate that arrest warrants were issued for Cleary and Williams the same day they were charged. No future court activity will be scheduled until they are in custody.