The following is a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho.
BOISE — Michael Wayne Wade, 30, of Boise pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to sex trafficking of children, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.
According to the plea agreement, agents with the Idaho Department of Probation and Parole arrested Wade for a felony probation violation in July of 2014. A Nokia Lumina cell phone was seized from Wade and examined by a detective with the Boise Police Department. The cell phone contained texts with a minor that included images of the minor, including one that was sexually explicit. The detective conducted open-source internet searches on Backpage.com and discovered that the images of the minor on Wade’s phone had been posted in an ad for “escort services” in Boise in July and November of 2014. The postings were made using a Backpage.com account for another individual, J.K.
J.K. was arrested by the Boise Police Department in December of 2014, and admitted she worked as a prostitute in Boise, and that Wade was the “boss” who “pimped her.” She admitted Wade asked her to use the minor for a two-girl “date,” which she refused. She admitted posting the minor as an escort on Backpage.com, using the images sent to her by Wade. She further admitted that Wade spoke to her about taking the minor “under her wing,” assisting her in “escorting,” and ensuring that she was “working.” J.K. admitted that she took the minor on at least two “dates” where the minor engaged in commercial sex acts, and that she received money from the minor in exchange for posting the ad and transporting her.
The minor was interviewed and admitted that she participated in a prostitution enterprise with Wade and J.K. She stated she sent the images of herself to Wade for the purpose of being posted on Backpage.com as an escort. The minor stated that J.K. posted her images on Backpage.com, and drove her on at least two “calls” where she engaged in a commercial sex act when she was sixteen years old.
Further investigation by the Boise Police Department and the FBI revealed recorded phone calls and text messages from Wade to J.K. and the minor. The text messages revealed that Wade knew the minor was sixteen years old, that he told her she would be a “star by the time I’m done with you,” encouraged her to “hustle all day,” and told her that J.K. would teach her “the tricks of the trade” and “how to hustle.” Wade also told the minor that she had “mad potential,” could “turn tricks,” and that J.K. would “buy you a room” and “have you got to work this weekend.” Wade then told J.K. that the minor was “all open” and “down to work for the team.”
“This defendant callously victimized a minor, commercially exploiting her for the sexual gratification of others and for his personal profit,” said Olson. “This conviction demonstrates that this office and its law enforcement partners in Idaho are unwavering in our commitment to seek justice on behalf of vulnerable victims and to hold sex traffickers accountable.”
Sentencing is set for November 10, 2016, before Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge. Sex trafficking of children is punishable by not less than 10 years’ imprisonment and up to life, a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised release of not less than five years and up to life.
The case was investigated by the Boise Police Department, the FBI, and the Idaho Department of Probation and Parole, and was prosecuted with assistance from the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office. The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”