The leader of a prostitution ring that operated out of New Orleans East pleaded guilty this week to enslaving and beating women — a violent enterprise that has led to seven convictions in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.
Granville “Bear” Robinson, of Memphis, Tennessee, admitted his role in an interstate sex-trafficking conspiracy based at the Riviera Motel on Chef Menteur Highway. He faces at least 15 years in federal prison, though his plea agreement calls for a sentence of nearly 25 years.
Robinson, 27, was “not only the ringleader of this gang, but also the most violent of the group,” said Jeffrey Sallet, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans field office.
Robinson became a pimp in 2012 and developed a code he demanded his prostitutes abide by, prosecutors said; the rules forbade the women to even look at other pimps.
He advertised the women online and, to show they belonged to him, had some of them tattooed with a bear that prosecutors described as identical to one on his own head.
In pleading guilty, Robinson acknowledged “compelling and coercing” more than 10 women between 2012 and 2014, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Robinson required the women to earn a certain amount of money each day by engaging in commercial sex acts” and then took all of the cash, prosecutors said in court papers. “If a woman kept any of the money that she earned, she would be in violation of his rules.”
One of the prostitutes once tried to leave Robinson, sending him into a violent rage. He returned to New Orleans from out of town, according to court documents, and shoved the women into a toilet so hard that it broke.
He also “hit her repeatedly with a wooden board, causing her to suffer nerve damage,” the documents say.
“This defendant recruited vulnerable victims from the New Orleans community and brought other victims to New Orleans to engage in commercial sex trafficking,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite said in a statement.
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