Feds: Mid-South High School Girls Target of Sex-Trafficking Ring

Feds: Mid-South High School Girls Target of Sex-Trafficking Ring

Neighbors say they always wondered about the house across the street.
Millington, TN -- Neighbors say they always wondered about the house across the street.

"When I saw the teenagers at first I thought 'Good God' look at all the teenagers," said Alma, who declined to give her last name.

Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Michael Lilley was charged Monday with sex trafficking girls as young as 15, recruiting them from as many as three local high schools.

Alma said she got so suspicious about all the young girls she asked Lilley.

"He said that he was taking care of a friends house while she was gone and he was watching her children," she said.

According to the criminal complaint, Lilley used an underage Millington High School student to recruit his classmates, and students at Brighton High School and a school in Munford to work was prosecutors. Prosecutors state many of the encounters took place in Lilley's home, and a "back house" in his backyard.

"That Is absolutely insane," Stephanie Dunning said. "I've been across the street since I was 15. So, somebody that when I was that age, that I've been around, is crazy."

Prosecutors allege the girls were given alcohol and drugs. Lilley would then charge men between $60-$75 per session with the underage girls. 

The girls also claimed that Lilley would drive the girls around to Mexican restaurants in Bartlett, Collierville, and Covinginton to have sex with Hispanic men.

"Oh my God," Alma said. "I think that's awful. He always acted so nice."

Prosecutors say two of the girls confided in a school guidance counselor about Lilley. That guidance counselor then called police.

“The activities alleged in the sworn affidavit, if proven to be true, are reprehensible,” U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton III said in a statement. “This office remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to prosecute and bring to justice anyone who exploits children for profit.”

Lilley was arrested in Bartlett. A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
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