116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A man who transported two teen girls from Wisconsin to Cedar Rapids to work as prostitutes pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court.
Robert Jackson, 31, of Milwaukee, Wisc., was convicted of one count of transporting minors across state lines with the intent they engage in prostitution. He faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison, and a $250,000 fine.
At the plea hearing, Jackson admitted he transported two teens, referred to in the indictment as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, of Milwaukee, to Cedar Rapids, July 16, for the purpose of having them engage in prostitution. The girls were under 18 years of age.
The federal charges stem from a prostitution sting in Hills which was part of an ongoing effort to target human trafficking in Johnson and Linn counties. Johnson County was assisted by the Iowa City, Coralville, University of Iowa and Marion police departments, and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation were involved in the sting.
According to criminal complaints regarding the sting operation, a deputy responded to a known prostitution website and set up an appointment in Hills. Jackson was arrested for driving three females from Milwaukee to Hills. Two of the females, who told police they were ages 21 and 15, identified Jackson as their pimp. They told police all the money they made from performing sex acts went to him.
Jackson also faced four other federal charges, including sex trafficking children by force, but those charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
According to court documents, federal prosecutors will present evidence at Jackson's sentencing to show he used force, coercion or threats to transport the minors to Iowa, which would increase his prison term. Prosecutors may also ask the court to consider photos of one of the teens engaging in a sex act taken by Jackson to also warrant more prison time.
Sentencing hasn't been set at this time.