Bloomington man sentenced to 33 years for sex trafficking minors

A Bloomington man has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for sex trafficking three victims - a 12-year-old girl, a 16-year-old girl and a 19-year-old young woman, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In December of 2015, a federal jury convicted 36-year-old Lee Andrew Paul on two counts of sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud, and coercion and one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion.

According to the press release, during the Memorial Day weekend of 2013, Paul lured a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl to a party at a motel in Rochester, Minn. and gave them marijuana and alcohol. He told the girls he was a pimp and they would be working for him. He then drove them to the Twin Cities, where he sexually assaulted the 16-year-old and raped the 12-year-old.

That weekend, the 16-year-old victim escaped a motel in Maple Grove, found a police officer, and reported what happened. But Paul left the area before police arrived.

He then told a 19-year-old woman to take the 12-year-old to Alexandria, Minn. to "show her the ropes." The 12-year-old was sold for sex twice that evening.

Police arrested Paul on the morning of Memorial Day in 2013. He made bail in August that year. In July 2014, he ran away right before his trial and lived under two different identities to avoid capture. Police arrested him in January of 2015.

“I remain amazed at the courage and fortitude shown by the young victims who stood up to Paul and who took back from him the power he tried to exert over them. Everything about Paul’s conduct belies any notion that he can be trusted to walk the streets ever again. My office is committed to prosecuting human traffickers like Paul and bringing to justice anyone who would exploit and abuse the most vulnerable in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.