19-year-old accused of pimping out 14-year-old may be second victim, Harris County attorney says
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — The bond has been more than tripled for a 19-year-old woman accused of pimping out a 14-year-old girl after the suspect appeared in a Harris County courtroom Monday morning.
Denise Maria Coronado, 19, is charged with compelling prostitution of a minor.
The victim claims a man abducted her and took her to a motel, where she met Coronado and was forced to pose for pictures while wearing lingerie. Prosecutors said the photos were then uploaded to BackPage.com, which is commonly used for prostitution and other sex activity.
Prosecutors said the victim was held captive and forced to commit sexual acts with 26 different men within the span of a week. Coronado and the man used verbal threats and burned the girl with a cigarette in order to coerce her into participating, the prosecutor said.
“[The victim is] very traumatized. She’s back with her family and doing well, everything considered, but she is traumatize,” prosecutor Joanne Musick said.
Musick said the victim was able to escape after reaching out for help on Facebook via a cellphone with internet connection. However, the defense is arguing the victim was not held against her will based on details in her alleged capture.
“If this girl was being held against her will, why was she allowed access to a cellphone and allowed to get on Facebook and make posts,” Attorney Joe David Wells said. “I’m curious as to why she didn’t go home when she left the first hotel with two male individuals and went to the other hotel. Police tracked her to the second hotel through her phone.”
Wells said law enforcement needs to find the man who reportedly committed the kidnapping before the courts place full blame on his client. It’s possible Coronado is a second victim in the crime, he said.
“Remember that my client is 19 years old,” the defense attorney said. “There’s no reason why her bail should be raised. And not only was it raised — it was tripled! On top of that, why the show force? Why are they bringing two officers wearing tactical gear for a 19-year-old girl? Seems to be a lot of publicity and show for this case. If there’s a man involved, we want to know where he’s at and what his connection is. That should be the focus.”
In court Monday, Coronado’s bail was raised from $30,000 to $100,000 because of her criminal history. The suspect has two prior assault convictions and one for marijuana possession. The judge also ruled Coronado is not allowed to have contact with the victim or the victim’s family.
Law enforcement is still searching for the man believed to have been involved.
“We’re not going to tolerate human traffickers, pimps or pimpettes enslaving our kids or our people in our county,” Asst. Harris County District Attorney Ruben Perez said. “So for you human traffickers, you pimps, you pimpettes, we’re watching. We’re open for business, and we’re not going to tolerate prostitution in our county.”