A Milwaukee man has pleaded not guilty to a charge of human trafficking more than a month after the same charge was dismissed against his former co-defendant.
Rodney Cleary, 26, entered his plea during a July 7 hearing in Waukesha County Circuit Court, according to online court records. His next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 3.
Cleary and Juan A. Williams, of Waukesha, were accused in April of using fear, intimidation, physical violence and drugs to force a woman they supposedly met at a battered women's shelter into prostitution.
The human trafficking charge against Williams was dismissed about a month later.
Basis for charges
According to a criminal complaint, the victim told police 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.
Additionally, police reportedly found semi-nude photos of the woman in ads with provocative titles on a prostitution website. The photos had been posted there, according to the complaint, by someone with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
An arrest warrant for Cleary was issued the same day both men were charged, and he was not in police custody until late June, court records show.
The district attorney's office asked for the charge against Williams to be dismissed after a prosecutor's investigation into the incident revealed substantial evidentiary discrepancies between what the victim had said about the case and information contained in her phone records about it.
Williams was released from his signature bond the same day the charge was dismissed, according to court records.
Meanwhile, Cleary is being held at the Waukesha County Jail on a $1,000 cash bond. He was bound over for trial during the July 7 hearing, and could face up to 25 years in prison and $100,000 in fines if convicted.