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Springfield, Ill. – A man and woman from Tennessee made their initial appearance in federal court in Springfield, Ill., today after being charged with transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution. Jessica M. Lidy, 22, and Jarrod. S. Sanford, 30, both of Friendship, Tenn., appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron G. Cudmore who ordered that the two remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
According to the affidavits filed in support of the complaints, Lidy allegedly invited a 15-year-old girl whom she had met on Facebook to accompany her on a trip with Sanford, whom Lidy represented was her father. Lidy allegedly told the girl that she made money as an escort traveling with her father and was willing to split her earnings with the girl if she would accompany them on a trip to Texas. After the girl agreed, Lidy allegedly contacted Sanford, who is not Lidy’s father and who was actually scheduled to deliver a load of cars to Chicago.
According to the affidavits, when they stopped to rest, at approximately 6:00 a.m. on
Oct. 7, 2011, at a gas station in Lincoln, Ill., the girl was able to get out of the truck and advise station employees that she was being held against her will. Employees then notified law enforcement who responded to the scene.
The charges were investigated by the Lincoln Police Department, Illinois State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance by the Logan County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris.
If convicted, the statutory penalty for the offense is a minimum 10 years in prison up to life in prison. .
Members of the public are reminded that a complaint is merely an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
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