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Houston Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking a 15-Year-Old Girl

(FORT BEND COUNTY) – A 33-year-old Houston man has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking after a 15-year-old girl was reported as a runaway. Dewayne Cook pled guilty to the offense of continuous trafficking of a minor on May 12. Cook appeared in the 240th District Court in Fort Bend County where he was sentenced to 25 years in prison in an agreement with prosecutors.

Dewayne Cook

According to Assistant District Attorney Ashley Harkness, a 15 year-old girl was reported as a runaway by her mother in the fall of 2019. The Houston Police Department conducted a welfare check at a house where she was believed to be living, with a man who was possibly trafficking her. Cook met officers outside of his home and claimed that he didn’t know anyone by the girl’s name and no one was in the house. The defendant allowed HPD to search his house and the girl was found hiding under a blanket in the closet. The girl told officers that Cook had sex with her within the last three weeks. The defendant was arrested for harboring a runaway and felon in possession of body armor.

The following day, the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office began investigating the case and secured a search warrant for the defendant’s cell phone. During the continuing investigation, the FBCDA investigators discovered sex ads online depicting the 15-year-old victim. The investigators contacted the number on the sex ads and the person texting from that number told them to come to the same address where the girl was previously found.

Based on this information and information gathered from the defendant’s cell phone, the FBCDA investigators secured an arrest warrant for sexual assault of a child and trafficking of a child, and a search warrant for Cook’s house. When officers executed the warrants, they again found the victim at the defendant’s house. The FBCDA’s investigators got additional search warrants for social media and discovered the human trafficking had been going on for roughly four months.

“The survivor, now 19 years-old, continued to stay strong throughout this case,” said lead prosecutor Ashley Harkness. “Her input, alongside the hard work of the Houston Police Department and our investigators, made it possible to hold Dewayne Cook accountable for perpetuating human trafficking and taking advantage of our most vulnerable.”

“The detection, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking cases can be arduous, but our efforts are necessary to rescue victims and protect our community from predators,” said Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton. “I am grateful for the efforts of the Houston Police Department and our prosecutors in bringing Dewayne Cook to justice.”

Continuous trafficking of a minor is a first-degree felony punishable by 25 to 99 years, or life, in prison. Under Texas law, Cook must serve his entire sentence day for day without parole. The remaining charges were dismissed. Assistant District Attorneys Ashley Harkness and Craig Priesmeyer prosecuted the case.


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