Indiana man sentenced to life in prison for prostituting minors online

Ronnie Cosby

HAMMOND, Ind.– An Indiana man received a life sentence Monday for advertising minors for sex online.

Ronnie Cosby, 42, was convicted on charges of sex trafficking with a minor, transporting a minor for prostitution and producing child pornography.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) says court documents show Cosby caused two minor females to engage in prostitution at his Hammond apartment between Dec. 2014 and Feb. 2015.

Cosby met one of the victims, a 14-year-old homeless girl, on an online dating website called Badoo. Within hours, he began prostituting her out of his apartment. He met the second victim, a 15-year-old girl, through a friend. Within a day, prosecutors say he offered her sexual services to men online in exchange for money.

The second victim was transported from Hammond to a Lansing, Illinois hotel while Cosby and another person arranged for men to come to the hotel to have sex with her.

The DOJ says Cosby took explicit images of the minors on his cell phone and uploaded them to Backpage.com, where he offered them up to strangers. He also texted images to repeat customers and friends.

Recently, the website and affiliated pages were seized by the FBI. The Justice Department says the website was the internet’s leading forum for prostitution ads.

“Mr. Cosby engaged in horrific acts of sex trafficking involving minors. As demonstrated by the conviction and sentence in this case, such acts carry severe consequences for those who commit them.  Sex trafficking and crimes involving minor victims will never be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II. “My office and our law enforcement partners will continue to come after individuals who commit these horrible crimes to the fullest extent permitted by law.”

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