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Prostitution Suspect Pleads Not Guilty in Federal Court

Joseph Dawson
Kevin Koile – TownSquare Media

A Colorado man pleaded not guilty to two prostitution-related charges in federal court on Friday.

Joseph Jovon Dawson of Aurora, Colo., is charged with one count of sex trafficking of a child, and one count of transporting a minor for illegal sexual activity, according to the indictment read by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Shickich.

The indictment also authorized the government to seize any of his property related to the crimes. If convicted, he faces 20 years to life behind bars.

Dawson, 30, was arrested on June 21 after Casper Police contacted a female who was advertising escort services. An undercover officer agreed to meet her at a hotel parking lot and arrested her. Police learned she was under 18 and was listed as a missing endangered person in the National Crime Information Center database.

Meanwhile, another vehicle had entered the parking lot. Officers approached and asked the lone male occupant, Dawson, to identify himself. After being read his Miranda rights, Dawson said he was involved in a prostitution operation. He also admitted to bringing two other girls of unknown ages to Casper from Colorado for the sole purpose of prostitution.

On Friday, Dawson, through his attorney Dan Blythe, pleaded not guilty to both counts. He also objected to the government’s attempt to forfeit his property.

Blythe tried to persuade Shickich to have his client released on bond. Dawson, he said, has a minor criminal history and leads a stable life in Colorado.

The judge said he might consider that later, but he said the severity of the crime involving a minor and the potential sentences persuaded him to keep Dawson in custody.

Dawson was originally charged in Natrona County District Court, but on July 24 the federal government  filed its case because of the interstate trafficking.

Natrona County District Court Judge Thomas Sullins dismissed the state charges on Wednesday, the same day Chief U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal unsealed the federal case.

Dawson’s trial date has been set for Oct. 20 before Freudenthal in Cheyenne.

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