A North Memphis man was indicted Thursday on charges that he raped a runaway 16-year-old girl and forced her to work for him as a prostitute last year, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
Defendant Melvin Howard Williams, 32, of the 1000 block of Breedlove north of Vollintine, was indicted on felony charges of rape and two counts of trafficking for commercial sex acts. He also was indicted on a misdemeanor count of harboring a runaway.
An investigation showed that the girl was held by Williams in a house on Breedlove for some three weeks last October before she was able to escape. Williams took her cell phone and posted ads online advertising the girl as a prostitute and forcing her to perform sex acts for money, which he kept.
The girl also told investigators that Williams forced her to have sex with him.
The case is being handled by Asst. Dist. Atty. Jeff Jones of the DA’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) which prosecutes cases of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of child victims; rape and aggravated rape of adult victims, and abuse of elderly and vulnerable adults.
SVU reviews child-victim cases with Shelby County’s multi-agency Child Protection Investigative Team.