Pimp for teen hookers sentenced to 20 years.
Facing strong evidence that, he was the pimp of a high school prostitution ring - including lewd photographs of underage girls and former ring members willing to testify against him - Thomas Hildebrand decided a plea offer he rejected two days earlier had become too good to refuse.
On Monday, just before his trial was to start, Hildebrand pleaded guilty to 34 charges, including living off the earnings of prostitutes, procuring minors for prostitution and promoting child pornography.
In exchange for his plea, Circuit Judge William Dimitrouleas sentenced Hildebrand to 20 years in prison - and the state agreed not to pursue additional prostitution - related charges against him. Six more girls have come forward identifying Hildebrand as their pimp.
Before he was sentenced, Hildebrand had a simple explanation for changing his plea. "I want to get rid of this case," he told the judge.
The plea agreement was reached during last-minute negotiations between prosecutor Stacey Honowitz and defense lawyer Henry McCallen, Hildebrand rejected Honowitz's offer on Friday, but decided to take the deal after Dimitrouleas refused to bar the sexually explicit photos from trial - and after six more girls gave statements to police.
The former boat captain accused of operating a call-girl service involving high school girls, was arrested in a controversial police undercover sting.
They searched his car and found hundreds of photos of naked and women and girls in the car's trunk - along with several condoms.
The case took a dramatic turn when a police internal investigation revealed that the detectives videotaped themselves having sex with the girls. One vice detective was fired and two other officers were demoted and suspended without pay.
Honowitz declined to comment on the police misconduct, but maintained her case against Hildebrand was strong. The photographs found in Hilldebrand's car and home depict underage girls engaged in sex acts, and both girls involved in the police sting were willing to testify against him.
Defense lawyer Henry McCallen was less impressed by the state's case, but agreed that the plea was in his client's best interest.back