Last September, the friend of a 15-year-old Louisiana girl saw Kentrell Knighten – who was dating the girl’s mother – text her friend asking how much she would charge to have sex with his friends in a different city.
She told a school counselor what she saw, and the incident has now resulted in the Knighten, 39, being sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for coercion of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. He was also sentenced to 15 years of supervised release, United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced.
Once the friend reported her observation to school officials, law enforcement got involved, including the Department of Homeland Security. Agents were able to seize and search the victim’s cell phone and then interviewed her.
“Specific text messages were found in the phone in which Knighten asked the minor victim how much she would charge to have sex with his friends in graphic terms,” said a press release regarding his sentencing. “These messages occurred in September 2022. In the text messages, the minor victim expressed fear of being alone with other adults. The defendant assured her that he would be in the room and that she would get paid between $75-100.”
Knighten admitted that he texted with the victim and that he discussed her engaging in sexual acts with other adult men for money.
“We urge parents to be keenly aware of who they allow around their children and into their homes,” stated U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown, per the press release. “Child exploitation touches every corner of our community. This office will be vigilant in protecting our youth and prosecute all who try to disrupt the American family through criminal activity. We look forward to this defendant serving a lengthy prison sentence and an even longer period of court supervision once released.”
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “child sex trafficking is a pervasive and underreported crime, and one of the most complex forms of child exploitation.”