A former Atlanta go-go dancer was sentenced Wednesday to 80 years in prison and the rest of his life on probation after his conviction in Douglas County for trafficking in victims as young as 15 years old for prostitution, authorities said.
Steven Donald Lemery was found guilty Aug. 24 of six counts of human trafficking, two counts of aggravated child molestation, and enticing a child for indecent purposes and pandering by compulsion.
Wednesday, Superior Court Judge David T. Emerson sentenced Lemery to what prosecutors described as a life sentence. The 37-year-old defendant will not be eligible for parole for 50 years, according to Assistant District Attorney Rachel Ackley.
Two of Lemery’s victims were 15 years old at the time of the offenses, and a third was 18, Ackley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a phone interview. One of the 15-year-olds and the 18-year-old were brought across state lines by Lemery and forced into prostitution.
“There was testimony how victims were held in the house, not allowed to leave, given drugs and alcohol, and just subjected to all kinds of terrible sex acts,” Ackley said. “One of the victims testified at trial by being forced to prostitute and while being held at a client’s house, he was held down and burned as they attempted to rape them.”
In March, Lemery’s former roommate and co-defendant Christopher Lynch was sentenced to 30 years — 14 years to be served in prison — after he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, pimping a victim under the age of 18 and pandering by compulsion.
Lemery danced under the name Steven Lang at B.J. Rooster’s on Cheshire Bridge Road. Lynch was a drag show personality better known to local audiences as Pasha Nicole. The suspects lived in a home off Chapel Hill Road in Douglasville.
Lemery was targeted by investigators in January 2011 after a victim from Alabama alerted authorities.
Lynch initially took credit in news interviews for aiding the investigation against Lemery, but was himself incriminated when a minor victim saw him on TV news and identified him to authorities.
Douglas Sheriff’s deputies identified victims in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina in a trafficking scheme that allegedly had been going on for two to three years.
— Staff writer Christian Boone contributed to this article.