Missing person working out at a gym leads to San Antonio sex-trafficking arrest

CaptionCloseA man who was accused in 2015 of running a college-targeted prostitution ring was arrested again in connection with a similar operation involving at least one minor after employees at a Northeast Side gym recognized a missing person and called...

Missing person working out at a gym leads to San Antonio sex-trafficking arrest

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A man who was accused in 2015 of running a college-targeted prostitution ring was arrested again in connection with a similar operation involving at least one minor after employees at a Northeast Side gym recognized a missing person and called police.

Steven Charles Sumlin, 39, was apprehended Monday on warrants charging him with sexual assault of a child and continuous trafficking of a person, according to Bexar County Central Magistrate records.

Authorities were alerted to Sumlin when witnesses saw that a 17-year-old girl who accompanied him to the gym in Live Oak was featured on a missing person poster at a nearby business, according to his arrest warrant affidavit.

Sumlin fled when he saw police arrive, hitching a ride from an unknown person at a nearby movie theater, witnesses told police. Live Oak police pulled over the car he was riding in on a traffic stop and Sumlin told officers he had only dropped off the teen and knew nothing about her, the affidavit states. Sumlin was released.

Police took the teen into custody. She was detained at the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center because of warrants out for her arrest. Under questioning by San Antonio police she admitted to prostitution but did not implicate Sumlin except to say she had sex with him after she turned 17, the affidavit states.

Investigators discovered a fake ID in a wallet containing her cell phone, which was later discovered to have had images she used to post ads for her services online, the affidavit states.

In a second interview with police, the teen said she ran away from her parents’ house in April and met Sumlin after answering his job posting for an escort on Craigslist. They had sex at his house, the affidavit states. She was 16 at the time, police noted.

She told investigators that Sumlin later described to her his escort agency, through which he employed several prostitutes with such names as “Paola,” “Serenity,” and “Dirty Blonde Bunny,” according to the affidavit.

Although she began working for his escort service, she eventually considered Sumlin her boyfriend, the document states. She would give him all the money she earned from servicing “johns,” and he would give her money on an “as needed basis,” investigators said in the affidavit.

Starting in October, Sumlin would personally drive the teen to hotels where she used a fake ID to rent the rooms, police said in the affidavit.

Sumlin was arrested on similar charges in 2015, accused of being the head of a prostitution ring that offered a sex menu of college prostitutes, according to a previous report.

He was accused of forcing up to 30 women into prostitution under a service called “School Girls by Jazleen,” police said then. SAPD's vice unit worked a six-month investigation on Sumlin with the Texas Attorney General’s office and police departments in Dallas and Austin. Those charges are pending.

The AG’s Office alerted SAPD detectives to Sumlin’s connection with the teen, and the detectives then opened their own investigation alongside Live Oak Police.

Sumlin’s bail on the latest arrests totaled $150,000.

jbeltran@express-news.net

Twitter: @JBfromSA

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