Md. grand jury indicts man in prostitution case

He kidnapped a prostitute from a Montgomery County hotel room, prosecutors say, and hit at least two others. He coerced other hookers and pimped them out.

At one point, the prosecutors added, the New York man named Jeremy Naughton killed a dog that belonged to one of the women by snapping its neck.

Those allegations were revealed Wednesday after a federal grand jury in Maryland indicted Naughton — a street rap artist also known as Jerms Black — on charges that he forced women into prostitution in Maryland and New York. Naughton, 31, appeared in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt and flipped intently through the indictment as prosecutors argued that he should be behind bars while awaiting trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Crooks said Naughton treated as many as six prostitutes “like objects” and if freed might try to hurt them. Naughton “will have the means and the will to track them down,” Crooks said.

Naughton’s attorney, Michael Citara Manis, countered that the indictment stems from “witnesses of unknown reliability” and argued that his client should be allowed to return to New York and stay at his mother’s home while wearing an electronic monitoring device.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Jillyn K. Schulze ordered Naughton back to prison.

A colorful character, Naughton has music that is widely available on the Internet. Some of the work has strong prostitution themes.

“That’s the P-I-M-P thing that’s in me,” he raps in one song. “You a hard-headed ho’, but you always get my dough. That’s why Sweet Daddy will never let you go.”

Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. attorney for Maryland, said the case underscores that for women who become prostitutes, pimps “can take control of their lives.”

By late 2009, Naughton had surfaced on the radar of Montgomery County law enforcement. Detectives looking through on-line advertisements found services being offered by a prostitute at a Rockville hotel. As they were about to knock on the door of a second-floor room, detectives heard “what sounded like someone slapping skin and a woman crying out in distress,” police wrote in charging papers.

The assailant was Naughton, and he eventually pleaded guilty to prostitution and was sentenced to three months in jail, according to court records. That case became part of a broader investigation involving Montgomery detectives and FBI agents in Baltimore and New York, authorities said.

One of the most startling allegations involved a 19-year-old prostitute identified in court records by her initials: K.S. She “generally worked alone, rented a room in a hotel in Montgomery County and posted an advertisement on prostitution-related websites,” Montgomery County Vice Detective Thomas G. Stack wrote in an affidavit filed in court.

Naughton contacted her and arranged a date, Stack wrote. In the hotel room, Naughton pulled out a handgun, identified himself as Jerms Black and told her she was going to New York to work for him. He took K.S. out to a black Dodge Charger, where his associates were waiting.

They headed north, listening to Naughton’s rap music, according to Stack. After arriving at his Brooklyn apartment, Naughton raped her, Stack wrote. Then he brushed her hair, telling her he was going to make her look pretty, before striking her with the brush.

Naughton posted an online prostitution advertisement for K.S., according to the indictment, and took her to a Long Island hotel. While Naughton went to a balcony to use his cellphone, K.S. fled to the front desk and contacted the police.

Post staff writer Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County, Md.
Ann covers legal affairs in the District and Maryland for the Washington Post. Ann previously covered state government and politics in California, New Hampshire and Maryland. She joined the Post in 2005.
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