GBI: Alleged sex trafficker had teen in his vehicle

A DeKalb County man accused of child sex trafficking had a 17-year-old girl in his car with him when he was stopped for speeding, the GBI said Thursday night.

Johnathon Nathaniel Kelly, 29, was stopped on I-20 in Taliaferro County by a state trooper and sheriff’s deputy, according to John Bankhead, GBI spokesman.

That’s when a Greene County deputy noticed a teenage passenger, Bankhead said.

“The deputy noticed that the juvenile displayed the indicators of commercial sexual exploitation of children that he had learned about in recent training,” Bankhead said in an emailed statement. “The juvenile eventually told the deputy that she was being held against her will for sexual purposes.”

Investigators determined the teen had been sold for sexual purposes in four states since she was 12 years old, Bankhead said. She was placed in the custody of the Division of Family and Children Services and is receiving medical treatment, he said.

“The circumstances of this case exemplifies the importance of the state’s priority in addressing the problem of child sex trafficking in Georgia,” GBI Director Vernon Keenan said.

Kelly was arrested and the GBI charged him with one count of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, Bankhead said. Kelly is facing additional charges by the Georgia State Patrol for driving while intoxicated (narcotics), possession of marijuana and speeding. The state trooper also determined that Kelly had an outstanding warrant from Norcross police for failure to appear.

The FBI is assisting with the investigation, along with the Taliaferro County Sheriff’s Office.