Plea deal reached in Lake County sex trafficking case

Updated 11/7/2013 2:40 PM
  • Aaron Thurmond

    Aaron Thurmond

A Chicago man accused of forcing his girlfriend to work as a prostitute in Lake County pleaded guilty to a charge of trafficking in humans in court Thursday morning.

Aaron Thurmond was sentenced to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections by Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti in the negotiated plea deal, Assistant States Attorney Fred Day said.

Day said Thurmond received credit for already serving 220 days in Lake County jail. In addition, Thurmond will receive other good time credit that could result in him being released in early 2015.

Following his release, he would be placed on two years of probation, and ordered to pay more that $1,000 in court fines.

"Our goal was to make sure (Thurmond) was punished for this crime," Day said after the plea deal Thursday. "But, also, this will give the victim time for a fresh start and to get away from him."

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 unidentified victim to work as a prostitute.

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 and Horton were stopped by Mundelein police at 12:30 a.m. April 3 for driving through town with the headlights on their vehicle off.

During the traffic stop, the victim 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 that second appointment in Antioch was with Lake County sheriff's Deputy Eric Francke, 33. Francke has since pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction of justice and solicitation of a sex act, and has been placed on unpaid administrative leave from the sheriff's office pending the outcome of the case.

The unidentified man in Wauconda has not been charged.

The victim has been held in Lake County jail in lieu of $200,000 bond since the end of June after she did not appear as summoned for Thurmond's initial trial.

Day said they intended to bring the victim into court Thursday to "significantly" reduce her bond, but that her defense attorney was not available. He said the victim would appear before Rossetti on Friday instead.

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