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St. Louis County man gets 3 years for sex trafficking

ST. LOUIS COUNTY — A man from St. Louis County was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday after admitting paying a 16-year-old for sex in 2019.

Thomas Lamar Perry, 36, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

Perry and his brother approached the girl outside a store in north St. Louis County on July 20, 2019, and offered her money for sex, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins said. The pair engaged in sexual contact with her in their SUV and then drove to a Ferguson restaurant, Collins said. There, they tried to interest two other men in paying for sex with her, but the men refused and contacted police, Collins said.

Perry normally could have faced at least seven years in prison under recommended federal sentencing guidelines, but the teen is "unavailable" and prosecutors may not able to find her to testify at a trial, according to court testimony. Instead, both sides agreed to recommend two to three years in prison. 

Perry apologized during the hearing, saying "I'm sorry this day ever happened." 

Collins asked for three years in prison. Defense lawyer Susan McGraugh asked for two years, saying that despite Perry's learning disabilities, mental illness and other difficulties during his youth, he is a respected cook who has worked at some of the better restaurants in Clayton and other areas.

Perry will have to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

Perry's brother, Terrell Andre Harrold, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

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