3 Columbus men appear in court for 2020 child sex trafficking case
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Three Columbus men charged with several sex trafficking crimes appeared in front of a Muscogee County judge for a pre-trial conference.
On the morning of Dec. 6, Rodney Dobbs, 26, Rashid Rush, 21, and Zachary Bailey, 25, appeared in court from a 2020 arrest where each defendant is charged with one count of sex trafficking of children conspiracy and two counts of transportation of a minor for criminal sexual activity.
According to official documents, on March 9, 2020, the guardian of a minor victim contacted the Columbus Police Department (CPD) to report them missing. She was eventually found on April 20, 2020.
It was soon discovered during the six weeks of her missing the minor had been forced into prostitution at various hotels in the metro Atlanta, Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama area.
Through further investigation by CPD and the FBI, the victim told law enforcement that she met co-defendant Dobbs online and finally met up with him at an Econo Lodge Hotel on Victory Drive in Columbus in March 2020.
After meeting with Dobbs, the victim was not allowed to return home and was forced and coerced into sex trafficking.
Records obtained by law enforcement showed that Dobbs openly advertised the prostitution of the victim via Facebook without the minor’s permission. Additionally, hotel records confirmed various hotels were booked in all three co-defendants’ names from March 31, 2020, to April 1, 2020.
Law enforcement says defendant Bailey admitted to monitoring the victim’s time with customers by waiting outside the hotels in his car and providing the phone number for customers to call for advertised online escorting services.
Bailey also admitted, with the help of Dobbs, Rush and other suspects, he knowingly transported the minor from Georgia to Alabama for sexual activity purposes.
During the pre-trial conference, defendant Bailey pleaded guilty to all three charges. Co-defendant Dobbs plans to plead guilty on Dec. 15, while Rush intends to go to trial.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 23, 2023, in federal court.
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