A 20-year-old man accused of pimping out a minor online in Virginia Beach was denied bail by a federal judge last week.
On Dec. 8, Magistrate Judge Douglas Miller refused to grant bail for Joshua Manuel Treat, of the 2900 block of Lyme Regis Way. Miller added that the weight of evidence against Treat is “very strong” and includes testimony from another minor involved in the operation.
Treat is accused of forcing a 14-year-old girl to prostitute herself on Backpage, an international classified website, in October and November. He is also accused of taking a pornographic picture of himself and the girl, according to documents filed in the Eastern District Court of Virginia.
If convicted, Treat will face a mandatory 15-year sentence for both charges.
Treat was charged after an undercover Virginia Beach Police Department detective began talking to him online and via text messages. On Oct. 12 the detective set up an appointment to meet Treat at a hotel, offering Treat $250 to watch him have sex with the underaged girl.
When questioned, the girl told police she agreed to come to the hotel for prostitution, but later told Treat she was uncomfortable having sex with him in front of a stranger. Treat convinced her to go anyway, but said if she was uncomfortable they could rob the customer and leave, court documents state.
The underage girl also told police Treat set her up for other prostitution appointments, in which she would either have sex with or rob the clients. She was usually high during these appointments, often on heroin that Treat injected into her.
Police say the evidence against Treat includes his own confession, the victim’s testimony and that of another minor involved. Much of the evidence is also corroborated by online postings and pictures.
Treat has a long history of breaking the law, beginning when he was 16 years old. As a minor he was convicted of shop lifting, having a weapon on campus or an educational property, trespassing, breaking into a currency machine, larceny and underaged possession of alcohol, court documents state.
As an adult, Treat’s been convicted of driving while having a suspended license, no drivers license, possession of stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug possession, larceny, trespassing, carrying a concealed weapon and reckless handling of a firearm.
He’s also got felony drug possession charges pending in Virginia Beach Circuit Court, including charges that he violated his suspended sentence.
Treat admitting that he has used and abused drugs in the past. His mother testified that he needs to be in a rehabilitation program, and that he was accepted into one but failed to appear after he was released from a North Carolina jail.
Treat’s mother also said he is suffering from a “potentially fatal communicable disease,” which he was diagnosed with just before his arrest in Virginia Beach, according to court documents
Treat’s mother declined to serve as a custodian for him if he was released on bail. His Virginia Beach roommate offered to keep an eye on him if he was released, but Miller rejected that arrangement.
Mayfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.