April 18, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Illinois. No. 15-CR-30146 - Michael J. Reagan,
Easterbrook, Kanne, and Rovner, Circuit Judges.
2015, a fifteen-year-old girl got into a heated argument with
her father, causing her to run away from home with nothing
but a bag full of clothes. She was distraught, insecure, and
alone. At her lowest point, she planned to kill herself by
jumping off of a bridge.
Thompson found her on the streets of Madison, Illinois and
decided to prey on her vulnerability. He asked her if she
wanted to make some money as a model and promised to help her
obtain modeling work. Being the naive and impressionable
teenager that she was, she got into his truck and agreed to
ride away with him.
to her, however, Thompson had different plans. He drove the
girl to Farmington, Missouri to pick up his wife. He and his
wife then stole a camper, and the three embarked on a
six-week odyssey of sexual exploitation in which he sold the
girl's sexual services to at least fifteen men across
three states. Thompson himself had sex with the girl at least
five times, knowing full well that she was a minor.
prostitution operation was sophisticated. He and his wife
took numerous sexually suggestive pictures of the girl
(including one nude picture) and posted them on
Backpage.com-a website used for advertising
commercial sex acts. When men responded to the
advertisements, he would arrange for them to have sex with
the girl in nearby hotels. He used a sliding fee scale,
charging them $60 for 15 minutes, $100 for 30 minutes, $200
for an hour, and $800 for the day with the girl. And he
allowed the men to take pictures and videos of her for an
also took steps to impede any attempts to rescue the girl.
For instance, he hid the girl's face in the pictures he
posted online so that no one would recognize her. And he told
her to ask prospective customers if they were cops; to
confirm that they were not cops, she would have them touch
her vagina before she agreed to have sex with them.
used fear to ensure the girl's complicity in his depraved
enterprise. For example, he threatened the girl af- ter she
refused to have anal sex with a customer. He also threatened
her after she tried to escape.
Thompson was done with the girl, he sold her to a truck
driver for $2000. The driver ultimately returned her to
Thompson. Thompson then gave the girl to a different truck
driver who drove her back to Illinois. There, she was able to
contact her family and to obtain medical attention.
was apprehended soon after. On September 8, 2015, a grand
jury returned a two-count indictment charging him with sex
trafficking of a child by force, fraud, or coercion and
conspiracy to do the same in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1591(a)(1)-(2), (b)(1)-(2) and § 1594(c). He pled guilty
to these crimes without a plea deal.
October 12, 2016, the district court held a sentencing
hearing. Throughout the hearing, the court referenced
Thompson's presentence report, which recites the facts
recounted above. Thompson admitted that he read the report
with his attorney and certified that everything in it is
true, correct, and accurate. The court then accepted the
report and adopted its factual findings.
court used the report to calculate Thompson's guidelines
range of 360 months to life imprisonment. The court then
analyzed the § 3553 factors, recounting the heinous
nature of Thompson's crime; Thompson's wanton
disrespect for the law and the need for deterrence; the
unspeakable physical and emotional damage to the victim,
including the recurrent harm of having pornographic images of
her forever circulated on the internet; the lack of
meaningful mitigating factors; and Thompson's tepid
acceptance of responsibility. The court ...