GREENSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — A Durham man has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of sex trafficking in July, the U.S. Attorney of the Middle District of North Carolina announced Thursday.
After a four-day trial, a jury convicted 62-year-old Chester Fletcher Wallace on July 14 on charges of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, threats of force, fraud, and coercion and five counts of using force, threats of force, fraud, and coercion to cause five victims to engage in commercial sex acts.
According to prosecutors, evidence at trial showed that Wallace ran a sex trafficking ring based out of a three-bedroom house that he rented from July 2021 until late spring 2022. Wallace recruited women who were homeless or suffering from substance abuse, promising them housing and drugs if they came to live at the house, prosecutors said.
Once inside the residence, all five victims testified that they were photographed for advertisements posted for commercial sex postings on websites and that Wallace and a co-defendant, identified as Leslie Chevonne Stout, set up the “dates” for commercial sex, prosecutors said.
The victims also testified that Wallace established certain house rules that all the victims had to obey and used violence and coercion to enforce the rules of the house, according to prosecutors.
Two victims testified that they tried to run away, but Wallace either found them and brought them back to the house or sent others to do so.
Wallace was sentenced to six life terms in prison, as well as, ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $68,000.
A hearing to determine additional restitution is set to be held on Nov. 14.
Stout previously pleaded guilty on Oct. 16 to the conspiracy count. Her sentencing is scheduled for July 18, 2024.
Wallace was initially arrested in late March 2022 by the Durham Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division — Special Victims Unit.