A 33-year-old woman from Lawrence is facing felony charges thanks to her involvement in an alleged prostitution scheme involving a minor. The woman was arrested on Dec. 11 after the culmination of an ongoing investigation that had implicated her in the prostitution scandal, which reportedly involved advertising on Internet sites. The crimes reportedly occurred throughout the months of October and November, according to courtroom documents.

The woman is facing charges including three counts of criminal sodomy, prostitution and aggravated indecent liberties with a child, according to local prosecutors.

Investigators report that the woman had engaged in sexual relations with a 15-year-old minor who had allegedly contacted the woman for that purpose. The youngster reportedly participated in the sexual activities with the woman on multiple occasions at various locations, including hotels and a private residence.

The woman reportedly has several existing drug convictions in the state of Missouri. She could face as long as 20 years' prison time in connection with the felony charges, according to area prosecutors, along with an additional six months for the prostitution charge, which is a misdemeanor.

This case is unusual because it appears that the woman was serving as a prostitute for the young client. It is not clear whether she was aware that the client was underage. Most sex abuse scandals involving felony charges do not involve a child ostensibly paying money for the sexual activities. Authorities have not said whether that young person is also facing charges.

In this case, authorities appear to have amassed a significant amount of evidence surrounding the woman's activities. She should consider pleading guilty to the charges, especially considering the potentially decades-long prison terms she faces if convicted in a jury trial. Jurors will likely not be sympathetic toward a woman who has a history with illegal drugs and prostitution, and a guilty plea could lower the sentence significantly.

The woman remains in jail, pending payment of a $75,000 bond.

Source: The Lawrence Journal-World, "Lawrence woman charged with prostitution, sex crimes against a child," Shaun Hittle, Dec. 12, 2012