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12 people arrested after runaway teen sexually battered, led into sex work, Pasco sheriff says

Sheriff Chris Nocco detailed how a teen girl who ran away from home lived through two weeks of sexual battery, sex work and other events.

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A total of 12 people are now behind bars after being arrested in connection to a "large-scale" human trafficking case out of Pasco County.

During a news conference Monday morning, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco detailed how a teen girl who ran away from home lived through two weeks of sexual battery, sex work and other events.

“Physically, she was absolutely abused. Mentally, she was tortured also,” Nocco said.

The situation began back in November 2021 when the girl was only 15 and living with her aunt in New Port Richey. A new pool company was hired, which brought out 43-year-old Steven Graham to the house as a worker.

Nocco explained Graham would go to the house once a week and eventually started building a "relationship" with the teen. 

“He basically starts grooming her,” the sheriff said.

Fast forward months to June 2022, Nocco said the teen was sexually battered by the 43-year-old in the woods. And the two continued to have this "relationship" for months after, according to the sheriff.

On Nov. 22, the now 16-year-old got into a fight with her aunt and reportedly ran away from home early in the morning with the goal of finding Graham.

Along the way, the teen ran into two different men, one who bought her food and paid $40 for sexual intercourse and another who offered her a shower which led to sexual battery, Nocco explained.

Around 3 p.m. on the same day, the teen was taken to Graham, who reportedly drove to a restaurant parking lot and sexually battered her.

But Graham told the 16-year-old she couldn't stay with him, so she left again.

The teen went on to meet up with Deontre Poole, who she met previously at a gas station. The duo started selling and using drugs along with drinking, the sheriff said. They reportedly drove back to a motel where the man sexually battered the teen before leaving her in the room alone.

Over the course of the night, the teen reportedly ran into two other men at the motel who provided drugs and alcohol. Nocco said the men sexually battered her.

"These are chance encounters; this is not setups," Nocco said. "This is a young 16-year-old girl totally intoxicated, totally on drugs, totally wasted...and these individuals, instead of doing the right thing, take advantage of this young girl."

The same evening, the 16-year-old left the motel and met Timothy Colon. According to the sheriff, the 38-year-old man sexually battered the girl in his car.

It was at that point the girl told Colon she was only 16. But according to Nocco, the man responded, "From now on, you're going to tell everyone you're 20 years old."

The two continued to spend time together until Candance Tekdogan came into the picture, the sheriff explained. The teen was reportedly sexually battered by the two at a Hernando County house before a second time, on camera, at a house in Pasco County.

This was when Tekdogan took the teen back to Spring Hill, gave her wigs, gave her a stage name and started having her dance at strip clubs, according to Nocco.

While working at a strip club, the 16-year-old performed dances on men who also allegedly sexually battered her. And while there, Graham visited and paid the minor $80 for a dance, Nocco said.

The teen was later reportedly pressured by Colon into having sexual intercourse with a man at a house party Tekdogan put together.

All of this happened within a two-week span and was ended when someone pulled up a flyer from the sheriff's office alerting Tekdogan of how old the teen was and that she was a runaway. 

Nocco said Tekdogan called Graham to come and get the teen and eventually called law enforcement to tell them where she was.

When deputies arrived at the motel where the teen was, she was reportedly found on the bed drunk and on drugs.

"Our deputies did the exact right thing – they got her all the help she needs, helping her in recovery," the sheriff said.

The teen was taken to a center for human trafficking victims. 

“I don’t think there’s a law enforcement officer in this room, no matter how much experience they have, if these cases don’t turn their stomach,” Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said, whose department was also involved in the arrests.

This is an example, investigators say, of just how quickly things can go downhill for victims caught up in these circumstances – and why it’s so important for people to speak up if they see something suspicious.

“It takes one person noticing something out of place. One person noticing that a child might be in danger and reporting that and knowing how to report that," Attorney General Ashley Moody said. "That will help us out these cases and take these dangerous predators off the street."

A later statement from Moody explained the people who "abused the victim are facing serious charges."

Here's a breakdown of the 12 arrested and the charges they face:

Timothy Colon

  • Human Trafficking
  • Unlawful Sex with Certain Minors (x3)
  • Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance 

Steven Graham

  • Human Trafficking
  • Unlawful Sex (x2)
  • Lewd and Lascivious Battery
  • Sheltering

Candice Tekdogan

  • Human Trafficking
  • Unlawful Sex with Certain Minors (x2)
  • Possession of Child Pornography
  • Use of Child in Sexual Performance  

Mark Poore

  • Human Trafficking (Violent Sex Offender)

John Malley

  • Human Trafficking  

Branden Dunn

  • Unlawful Sex with Certain Minors  

Alan Schiavo

  • Unlawful Sex with Certain Minors

Deontre Poole

  • Unlawful Sex with Certain Minors

Jaimi Manning

  • Human Trafficking
  • Unlawful Sex with Certain Minors (x2) 

Jeremy Francis

  • Unlawful Sex with Certain Minors

Jeremy Nanos-Sky

  • Human Trafficking
  • Traveling to Meet Minor
  • Unlawful Sex with Certain Minors

Pierre Williams

  • Unlawful Sex with Certain Minors

The investigation is ongoing. It’s likely, Nocco says, there will be more arrests in this case.

Watch the full news conference down below.

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