3 guilty, 6 not guilty in Somali sex trafficking case - WSMV Channel 4

3 guilty, 6 not guilty in Somali sex trafficking case

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) -

A federal jury Friday found three men guilty and six others not guilty in a case involving a sexual trafficking ring run by Somali refugee gang members.

The jury of six men and six women began deliberations on Monday after more than two weeks of testimony.

The defendants are among a total of 30 who were indicted in the case that spans from Minnesota to Ohio and Tennessee.

"The United States is always happy when a fair verdict is rendered whether it's guilty or not guilty," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent.

A Somali witness identified only as Jane Doe No. 2 testified that she was used as a prostitute by gang members starting at the age of 12.

"As you can imagine for any victim to have to testify in any trial, that is very difficult for that person," Vincent said.

Defense attorneys contended the witness willingly had sex with multiple defendants and lied about it so her conservative Somali family could save face.

The three men who were found guilty Friday now all face life in prison.

The U.S. Attorney's office said officials have made prosecuting sex trafficking a top priority and hope this case sends a message to those who might be victimized.

"It's very important the victims understand that you can come forward, people will listen and that people can believe what you have to say about the crime," Vincent said.

Some of those who were found not guilty still face other charges, and there are still many others who have yet to go to trial.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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