St. Louis man sentenced for prostituting runaway teen


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ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis man will spend 10 years in federal prison for taking in a runaway teenager and grooming her to become a prostitute.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Tony Sanford pleaded guilty in July to one count of enticement of a minor to engage in prostitution.

Sanford was introduced to the teen after she ran away from the Missouri Baptist Children’s Hospital in St. Louis County back in January.

Our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the teen stayed at Sanford’s house in St. Louis with his girlfriend and her adult children.

Sanford, 39, used a picture of the teen to solicit customers in St. Louis City and County and drove her to and from arranged sexual liaisons. This occurred between Jan. 20 and Jan. 30.

On Jan. 30, the teen called 911 and reported she was a victim of a sex trafficking ring.

Sanford was arrested shortly thereafter and, as part of his guilty plea, admitted to the accusations.

The teen also reported Sanford shot a customer who had struck the teen during one of these meet-ups. Sanford denied the accusation but federal prosecutors said they had evidence of the crime.

Following his prison sentence, Sanford will be under lifetime supervised release.

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