A 34-year-old Washington bartender accused of acting as a pimp for a 16-year-old girl was convicted by an Arlington Circuit Court jury yesterday of attempted pandering and conspiracy to commit prostitution. The jury recommended concurrent two-year prison sentences.
Dennis Jackson, the bartender, was acquitted of a charge of taking indecent liberties with a minor.
Jackson was arrested last February after accompanying the 16-year-old to a cocktail lounge in a Crystal City hotel, where, according to court testimony, he quoted to one man the prices for sexual acts with the girl and told another he could provide female "escorts" any time.
Leonardo Knight, the defense attorney, argued that the only reason Jackson was on trial was that "he fits the stereotype" of a pimp. Knight argued that Arlington detectives initiated a case against Jackson because he is black and the girl he was with is white.
Jackson testified he thought the girl was at least 22 and said he went to the lounge with her "as a friend" because she asked him for protection because she had been beaten up by her pimp. He said he knows the fees prostitutes charge and mentioned them in conversation to another man in the lounge because prostitutes frequent a Washington lounge where he works.
Det. Howard K. Haines testified he noticed Jackson and the girl watching each other as she sat talking with a man in the lounge. Haines, who was in plainclothes, said he then queried Jackson and was told a "date" with the girl cost $100. Haines said Jackson never directly asked for money.
The girl was arrested when she went to a hotel room with Haines. According to Haines' testimony, she told police she gave Jackson all of the $500 to $800 she earned per night as a prostitute. The girl, a runaway from Akron, Ohio, known as "Michelle," has since violated the terms of her probation for prostitution and juvenile officials say they do not know her whereabouts.