BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge man originally charged with human trafficking for running an illegal strip club will serve no additional time due to a plea deal entered Monday.
According to court documents, Trudell Richardson was set to stand trial April 25, but changed his plea to "guilty" in exchange for a lesser charge.
"The plea allowed by this defendant is not the outcome that my office desired," said District Attorney Hillar Moore.
Richardson was arrested in April 2015 after police say they discovered the illegal strip club on Plank Road. They say a 16-year-old girl was found inside the building and was wearing only her bra and panties.
The teen told police she had been coerced into dancing for money.
Richardson was originally charged with trafficking children for sexual purposes and indecent behavior with a juvenile. The terms of the plea include the dismissal of both of those charges in exchange for a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
"The victim in this case was a juvenile at the time of the offense but is now an adult," Moore explained. "Neither the victim or her mother wished to be involved with the case or pursue the charges against Richardson or his co-defendant."
Kaylenceyia Carter was also arrested and charged with trafficking children for sexual purposes. After spending more than a year in prison, she was also released and all charges against her were dismissed.
"They were adamant about not pursuing these charges against our desire to prosecute these defendants as charged," Moore added. "Without the full cooperation of the victim, we were unable to prove the charges of Trafficking of a Juvenile beyond a reasonable doubt. Due to the allegations and since the juvenile's testimony was key to our case, we did not want to force her to testify if she was not fully cooperative.
Judge Richard Anderson accepted the plea and rendered a sentence of six months in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. However, Richardson was given credit for time served, which exceeded the six-month sentence.
"Under the circumstances we had no options but to allow him to plead to a lesser offense to resolve the case and continue to assess the case if any new evidence were to come forward that would allow us to pursue any other potential charges at a later date," Moore concluded.