(Memphis) A 49-year-old man was convicted Thursday of taking a 13-year-old girl on two trips out of the state to have sex with her.
A federal jury convicted him Thursday on two counts of transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
In November of 2011, Calvin James Reid took a 13-year-old girl to a Horn Lake, Miss. hotel and had sex with her.
Less than a month later, he took her on a trip to Las Vegas, also to have sex with her.
The girl’s mother, who will remain anonymous to protect the victim’s identity, said she felt vindicated upon hearing the verdict.
It turns out Reid was a family friend, who had started a sexual relationship with the girl in Memphis. But it ended when the victim called home, looking for a way out.
“I didn’t know where she was for a couple of days or more. And when she called me, I think my heart fell down to my feet,” her mother said. “She called and said ‘mom, I’m ready to come home.’”
Federal prosecutors emphasized to the jury that an underage girl cannot be considered to have given legal consent for such an activity.
Her mother said she trusted the wrong person.
Shortly after the phone call, she had to arrange for a flight to Vegas to bring her daughter back.
As soon as authorities were notified, attorneys said Reid took off. The victim’s mother said he was eventually found in Memphis.
“I hate that he made a decision to do such a thing, especially to my child. I mean, she trusted him like an uncle,” she said.
During the trial, Reid represented himself. So not only did his victim have to face him in court, she also had to answer questions he asked her during cross-examination.
Some incidents in the case even happened at a home where Reid’s long-time partner lives. That partner said she did not know anything about what took place, and finds it upsetting, given that a guilty verdict likely means the allegations were true.
She said that she hopes the girl can move past this experience.
The victim’s mother said when she found out her daughter was in Las Vegas, she immediately feared she would be introduced to prostitution. Fortunately, no evidence points to that activity.
Ryan Dalton is with an organization called Operation Broken Silence, which fights human trafficking.
Dalton said that in this case, “While it sounds like it’s not sex trafficking, this is how these stories begin. This is how, by and large, human traffickers rely on the vulnerabilities of younger girls. Acting as a boyfriend, acting as a father figure.”
Dalton said he recommends parents pay close attention to their children’s activity online and on their phones. Parents should also know exactly whom their children spend time with.
A study done by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Vanderbilt University shows 100 minors were victims of human trafficking in Shelby County, within just a two-year period.
Reid will be sentenced in February.