Teen accused of forcing girl into prostitution faced judge

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The 19-year-old who is accused of forcing a teen into prostitution faced a judge Monday. (KTRK)

A teenager charged with forcing another teen into prostitution faced a judge Monday morning.

Prosecutors said Denise Coronado, 19, forced a 14-year-old girl to have sex with 26 men in one week.

The teen was allegedly held captive by Coronado and another man for around two weeks. She escaped on March 10.

"She's very traumatized. She's back with family. She's doing well, all things considered, but she is traumatized," said Joanne Musick with the Harris County District Attorney's office.

The man who prosecutors said was involved in the plot was not named in court, nor has he been charged.

ORIGINAL STORY: 19-year-old allegedly forced runaway into prostitution

Prosecutors said he originally forced the teen girl into his van, took her to a hotel, raped her several times over the course of a week, then brought her to another motel where Coronado came into the picture.

Investigators said they took pictures of the teen and posted them on Backpage.com, a site often used to post prostitution advertisements.

"When she would resist wanting to take the photographs, wanting to be a prostitute, she was verbally threatened. When the verbal threats didn't quite work, apparently she was burned with a lit cigarette," said Musick.

Somehow, at the motel, the teen got a cell phone.

Prosecutors say she posted on Facebook and contacted friends for help, then escaped. Police met the teen and tracked the messages sent from her cell phone to the motel where they found Coronado.

Coronado's attorney said he has some problems with the prosecutor's claims.

"They said she was a runaway, then they said she was kidnapped. They said she was being held against her will, but then she was on Facebook. They said she escaped, but she didn't go home, she went to a hotel room with two other men, so there are a lot of open questions that we need to get some answers to," said Joe David Wells, Coronado's public defender.

Prosecutors would not elaborate on the other man involved in this case. He was not named in court and has not been charged with anything at this point. Investigators also will not name the motel where the teen was allegedly held, only saying it was near a wooded area.

"(There are) a lot of open questions in this case and I have a feeling, in the end, there might be two victims here and not just one. Remember, my client is also a teenager. She's 19 years old. There's a man involved in this situation and we want to know where is he at," Wells said.

Coronado has been convicted twice of assault and possession of marijuana. She has no previous prostitution charges.

Monday, the charge was upgraded to compelling prostitution of a minor. If found guilty, she faces five years to life in prison.

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Related Topics:
Human Traffickingprostitutionsex crimesHouston
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