Man found guilty to forcing woman into prostitution at Bloomington hotel

A jury has convicted an Illinois man accused of coercing a woman into engaging in prostitution.

The situation was uncovered in March of 2019 when Bloomington police responded to the La Quinta Inn in Bloomington for the report of an assault with one victim being thrown against a wall. At the hotel, police found 29-year-old Darnell Deshawn Stennis with two women in a hotel room with obvious signs of damage.

Investigators learned Stennis had transported one of the women between North Dakota and Minnesota for prostitution. During the same period, federal prosecutors said Stennis forced the other woman, threatening her with physical violence, to work as a prostitute as well.

When police spoke with the victims at the Bloomington hotel, one of the women said Stennis had choked her, bashed her head into a towel rack, and pushed her down after she told him she didn't want to work for him any longer.

Stennis, who also faced outstanding warrants, was taken into custody for the incident and ultimately charged with federal sex trafficking crimes.

This past week, Stennis faced trial with jurors returning a guilty verdict against him on charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, transporting an individual to engage in prostitution, and obstruction.