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Article updated: 9/10/2013 6:51 PM

Accuser in prostitution case remains held in Lake County jail

Aaron Thurmond, 22, of Chicago

Aaron Thurmond, 22, of Chicago

 
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A woman who authorities claim was forced into prostitution by her boyfriend will remain held in Lake County jail on $200,000 bail until the man either takes a plea agreement or goes to trial.

Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti rejected a request Monday to lower the woman's bail, ruling that she is a flight risk who may not come back to court if released.

The identity of the woman is being withheld because she has not been charged with a crime. Instead, she has been jailed since the end of June for ignoring a subpoena and not appearing at the court date of Aaron Thurmond, 23, of Chicago.

Thurmond and his brother, Jeffrey Horton, 27, of Chicago, were charged in April with multiple counts of involuntary servitude, trafficking in persons, promoting prostitution and conspiring to traffic in persons after they were arrested on accusations they forced the woman to work as a prostitute.

The woman's attorney, Alex Rafferty, told Rossetti in court Monday his client has learned her lesson and will definitely appear for Thurmond's next court date.

But prosecutor Jason Grindel opposed her possible release, saying she has "ebbed and flowed" when it comes to appearing in court when requested.

Rossetti decided it was best to have the victim in custody than to see if she would reappear in court when told to do so. But she told the woman to come back to court Sept. 16 for a status update.

Thurmond and Horton were stopped by Mundelein police at 12:30 a.m. April 3 for driving with the headlights off in Thurmond's car. The woman later told officers that Thurmond and Horton were forcing her to have sex with men in Lake County for money, authorities said.

According to police, the woman said she had just completed a sex act with an unidentified man in Wauconda and was being driven to an Antioch home where she was supposed to perform another sex act.

Police said the Antioch appointment was with Lake County sheriff's Deputy Eric Francke, 33. Francke has since pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice and solicitation of a sex act. He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave from the sheriff's office and is due back in court Sept. 26.

The unidentified man in Wauconda has not been charged.

Horton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to promote prostitution in July and was placed on 24 months of probation. He also was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

Thurmond also appeared in court Monday, but proceedings were delayed until Sept 16. He has been offered a plea deal, but has not decided whether to take it. His trial is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 7.

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