Firefighter sentenced to 15 years in sex-trafficking case

Jamar Simmons, 31, brought women to Baltimore and hired them out as prostitutes

December 13, 2013|By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun

A former Baltimore firefighter was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for running a brothel and bringing women — including a 16-year-old girl — from around the country to Baltimore so he could hire them out as prostitutes.

Jamar Simmons, 31, ran a brothel with Franklin Coit, 35, and preyed on poor, homeless or otherwise vulnerable women, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Simmons pleaded guilty in September to a federal sex trafficking charge; Coit had pleaded guilty to the same charge a month earlier.

The pair posted online advertisements falsely describing the women who worked for them as exotic dancers and arranged for them to meet clients at hotel rooms and other places in Maryland.

Simmons provided guidance to his employees, setting the pricing for various sex acts, training the women on how to set up dates and teaching them how to evade the police.

Coit and Simmons were also arrested on prostitution charges in Baltimore County in 2010. Simmons received probation before judgment in that case, and the charges against Coit were dropped.

William R. Buie III, Simmons' lawyer, said the judge imposed a prison term longer than what both he and the government were seeking in the case.

"While I respect and understand the judge's sentence, we were very hopeful of receiving a lighter sentence," he said.

Coit's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Simmons will be required to register as a sex offender after his release from prison. Coit is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

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