Monday, September 8, 2014
Man headed to trial for allegedly prostituting teens in Bensalem
Posted: Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Every day, 17-year-old B.H. testified, she was expected to earn $1,000 selling her body to strangers.
That was money that she immediately handed over to Anthony Brooks, a 22-year-old Philadelphia man who allegedly arranged the sales.
How did she know when she reached the $1,000?
“I would work until (Brooks) gave me permission to stop,” the now-19-year-old testified Wednesday at a preliminary hearing for Brooks, who’s charged with felony offenses including corrupt organizations, sexual exploitation of children, promoting prostitution of a minor and trafficking of persons.
On the witness stand, B.H. testified that she and another 15-year-old girl called M.W. ran away together from the same Philadelphia group home in January 2013. Within days the girls were both working as prostitutes for Brooks, who called himself Tony Montana, after the lead character in the movie “Scarface.”
Working for Brooks meant following his rules, she explained. The two main ones: Don’t look another pimp in the eye; and give Brooks all the money they earned, she testified.
Breaking the rules brought threats that Brooks would give her to another pimp, she said. Three times she said she saw him beat other girls who worked for him. Brooks threatened to beat her, too, she said.
To show their loyalty to Brooks, B.H. said she and M.W. each got tattoos, at his urging, that read: “100 percent Montana.”
“One hundred percent of my earnings would go to him,” she added, explaining the tattoo’s significance.
B.H. came to the attention of Bensalem police on Feb. 13, 2013, when she and M.W. were arrested in an undercover prostitution investigation at a motel.
At the time of their arrest, Brooks was incarcerated in Philadelphia after being arrested on Feb. 5, 2013, on robbery, firearms and related charges, according to court records. While he was in jail, B.H. testified that Brooks’ fiancée, who isn’t facing criminal charges, ran the prostitution business.
Brooks’ attorney, Louis Busico, argued that his client was incarcerated when Bensalem police arrested B.H. and M.W., so he couldn’t have been trafficking the two. He added that Bucks County has no jurisdiction in the case, since any alleged prostitution acts occurred in Philadelphia.
But Chief of Prosecution Matt Weintraub countered that the county had secured a letter from the Philadelphia district attorney allowing Bucks to prosecute the case against Brooks, including any alleged acts that occurred in Philadelphia.
He added that clearly Brooks’ corrupt organization extended from Philadelphia into Bensalem.
Weintraub referred back to the tattoo that B.H. testified that she was coerced into getting. “ ‘100 percent Montana’ (means) both these minors were considered property,” the prosecutor said. “The defendant enslaved these young women who didn’t know any better. He used their bodies as his business.”
Following testimony, Bensalem District Judge Joseph Falcone held Brooks for trial on all charges. He remains incarcerated in Camp Hill state prison serving a four to 10 years prison sentence for aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime in connection with a 2012 Philadelphia crime, according to online court records.