BILLINGS - During the trial for the man accused of operating a prostitution ring in Montana involving women and children on Tuesday a victim testified that she was forced into the commercial sex business by way of emotional and physical abuse.
Terrance Edwards, 35, is on trial in U.S. District Court in Billings for 10 charges related to prostitution.
One victim, a 23-year-old Montana woman, testified Tuesday that Edwards was kind to her when they first met in 2016 but he became violent once he became her pimp.
“He threatened to kill me and bury my body in the park,” said the woman.
The woman said Edwards wrote the description for the ad posted on the escorts section of Backpage.com. The ad, which was shown to jurors, included photos of the woman in sexual poses, as well as a phone number to reach her for a “date.”
The woman testified that she went on several "dates" with men where she had sex for about $150 each time. “I gave it all to Terrance,” said the woman.
Edwards dictated the phone calls, the dates and the cash flow, according to the woman. Asked by prosecutors if she felt she could leave, the woman said she could not because she was afraid of Edwards.
“He threatened to burn my house down,” said the woman, who also described a time when Edwards turned on the bath water and said he would drown her if she talked back to him.
The woman brought in a friend to work for Edwards and the two women went on "dates" with customers together, the victim testified. The woman said she'd finally had enough of the violence and the sex work and left town with her female friend.
Edwards attempted to contact the woman but he could not find her, she said. He's accused of promoting at least three women for commercial sex work and transporting three teenage girls from North Dakota to Billings with the intent to work as prostitutes.
Attorneys for Edwards claim that he operated a perfectly legal escort service and brought the underage girls to Billings to model purses he’d made while he was incarcerated for prostitution offenses in 2012.
Edwards’ attorneys insist that the women chose to engage in commercial sex without the guidance of Edwards and add that they were free to leave but chose to stay.
The trial is expected to last eight days and defense attorneys said Edwards will testify on his own behalf.
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