Charles Wade, a prominent Black Lives Matter organizer and co-founder of Operation Help or Hush, was arrested last month and charged with human trafficking and prostitution.
Mr. Wade was arrested at a Howard Johnson Inn in College Park, Maryland, on April 25. Police said he was residing in a motel room where he allegedly pimped a 17-year-old girl, The Daily Caller reported Thursday.
Mr. Wade was held on seven counts relating to felony human trafficking and prostitution. He was bailed out shortly after his arrest, according to a statement he released on Twitter Wednesday.
He was arrested as part of a sting operation in which an undercover officer responded to an ad Mr. Wade allegedly placed for a 23-year-old woman on backpage.com, a website frequently used by sex traffickers and prostitutes, The Daily Caller reported.
Investigators said the woman, who turned out to be a 17-year-old girl, called Mr. Wade her manager. She said he knew she was a minor but wasn’t worried because of her upcoming birthday. She also told investigators that she provided all the money she earned to Mr. Wade, The Daily Caller reported.
Mr. Wade told The Daily Caller that he was unfairly arrested because he was “too trusting” of a female tenant whom he was temporarily housing as part of his Operation Help or Hush charity.
Mr. Wade said she told him she was 20 years old. He said he was arrested because he signed for, provided identification for, and paid for the room, but said she acted alone in conducting illegal business there. He said she was also arrested for solicitation and prostitution.
“Her family said she has a history of running away and doing this. I didn’t know. I am not pimp. Never have been,” Mr. Wade tweeted Wednesday.
His statement posted on Twitter blamed conservative “trolls” for attempting to smear him with the story of his arrest.
“For the past two to three days, ‘trolls’ have been actively baiting conservative news outlets to report on my arrest, amongst other vindictive things that they are actively working on,” he wrote. “I am confident that I will be cleared of the charges I am currently facing.”
Mr. Wade’s nonprofit was created during the Ferguson, Missouri, unrest in 2014. Last September, he began crowdsourcing a center for children and youth near Ferguson and Dellwood, a local Fox News affiliate reported.
Last year he was listed as No. 40 on The Root’s 100 most influential black activists.
He was also invited Tuesday by the White House to a movie screening with other Black Lives Matter activists. He said he did not attend, The Daily Caller reported.
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