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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Federal charges accuse Wichita man of trying to recruit teens to sex trade

BY STAN FINGER and RON SYLVESTER
The Wichita Eagle

A 25-year-old Wichita man is accused of attempting to recruit and entice teenage girls to work in the commercial sex trade, federal authorities say.

Brandon W. Dennis, 25, was charged Thursday with two counts — one involving a 17-year-old girl and another involving an undercover Wichita police detective through the social networking site Facebook.

According to a complaint filed Thursday by the office of U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom:

Dennis met the 17-year-old at a party last summer, and they became Facebook friends.

She received Facebook messages Sunday and Monday from Dennis, telling her she could make $800 a day selling sexual favors.

One message from Dennis read: "become a hoe n get paid n get rich."

When she turned Dennis down, he began threatening her, federal authorities said.

One message said: "u jus nothing but a dog that needs the rite trainin n life."

The 17-year-old student told a school resource officer Monday about the man's solicitation, Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred said. The resource officer contacted the Internet Crimes Against Children task force in the Wichita-Sedgwick County Exploited and Missing Child Unit.

Authorities have not released which school the student attends, Allred said.

Later Monday, a task force member accessed the teenager's Facebook account and found a phone number for Dennis, the complaint said.

Posing under the name "Rissa," the detective contacted Dennis through a series of phone and text conversations.

Dennis wanted "Rissa" to work as a prostitute, the complaint said.

In one message Dennis told the undercover detective: "we can make this happn n get this money nation wide girl."

Dennis arranged to meet "Rissa" at the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview, 400 W. Douglas in Wichita.

Police arrested Dennis when he arrived for the meeting Tuesday night, said police Lt. Doug Nolte.

Grissom said if Dennis is convicted he faces a minimum penalty of 15 years and a fine up to $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart has been assigned to prosecute the case.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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