COLUMBIA — A federal judge denied bond Monday for an alleged pimp and an alleged prostitute accused of setting up a 16-year-old to advertise sexual services on the Internet.
William J. Gibson, 21, and Andrea Bostic, 20, both of Columbia, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Shiva V. Hodges after each was charged July 28 with sex trafficking of children by force or coercion for their alleged roles in the 16-year-old’s work as a prostitute.
Hodges called their charges “a very serious case” and said she was saddened that people continue to force minors into prostitution.
For Gibson, the bond denial put an end to a cycle of committing crimes, getting arrested and then being released from jail on bond.
Gibson was given a $60,000 bond in January 2012 by Circuit Court Judge Allison Lee after he was charged with murder by the Columbia Police Department. At that time, he already was on bond for a 2010 arrest on two counts of assault with intent to kill and discharging a firearm into a dwelling.
Gibson and Bostic were arrested as part of a nationwide sting coordinated by the FBI. The sting rescued 105 children, ages 13 to 17, who had been working in the sex trade and rounded up 150 alleged pimps.
During Monday’s hearing, Gibson was tagged as the pimp, who paid for hotel rooms and received the money the women earned by having sex. Bostic was a prostitute and was in charge of the other girls when Gibson was not around, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim May.
Bostic allegedly took the 16-year-old’s picture and posted it on the website Backpage.com after being told to do so by Gibson, May said.
Police set up an appointment with the girl by calling a phone number listed with her photos in the Backpage.com escort advertisement. At the hotel room, the girl agreed to accept $80 from an undercover agent for a 30-minute session, said FBI special agent Luke Davis.
When FBI agents and local police busted the prostitution business, they found the 16-year-old runaway and a 19-year-old who had bipolar disorder working in the motel on Two Notch Road. Bostic was in another room at the motel, and Gibson was in a car outside, Davis said.
Police found a loaded 9mm Glock handgun and .38-caliber ammunition in Gibson’s car. He tried to flee when he realized law enforcement was at the motel, but police surrounded his car, forcing him to surrender, Davis said.
The 16-year-old told police she had been working for Gibson for a couple of weeks. The group had spent two days in late July working out of a motel on Hilton Head Island, Davis said. On the day of the bust, the 16-year-old said she already had had sex with one client.
The 19-year-old’s mother, who picked up her daughter at the Two Notch Road motel, told officers that her daughter was bi-polar. The daughter said she had been forced to work as a prostitute because Gibson said she owed him money, Davis said. She told police that she had been held at gunpoint and handcuffed to a bed.
Since their arrests, Gibson and Bostic have asked associates to destroy evidence, Davis said. That information was gathered when investigators listened to their phone conversations that had been recorded at the Lexington County Detention Center.
Defense attorneys for Gibson and Bostic asked that their clients be given a bond. Both should not be considered flight risks, the attorneys said.
However, the prosecutor said Gibson needed to stay in jail.
“He is a danger to the community because he constantly gets arrested for very violent crimes and when he is on bond he continues to commit them,” May said.
As for Bostic, May asked that she be denied bond because “she was trafficking a child. She was posting pictures of a child to perform sex acts.”
Hodges noted that although Bostic’s only prior criminal record consisted of two shoplifting charges, she been charged with failing to appear in Richland County magistrate court on those charges.
“I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around giving her bond when she failed to show up for shoplifting charges in magistrate’s court,” Hodges said.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.