BANGOR, Maine — An Auburn man and a Lewiston woman were arrested on New Year’s Eve on charges of aggravated sex trafficking at a Bangor motel as the result of an investigation into a missing 13-year-old Lisbon girl.
Alvin Houston, 27, of Auburn and Shawna Calhoun, 24, of Lewiston are accused of prostituting the girl through advertising pay-for-sex services via the free classifieds website Backpage.com, according to documents filed Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center. Calhoun also was charged with violating the conditions of her release from a previous, unrelated arrest.
Both suspects made initial appearances via videoconference Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center but neither entered pleas at that time.
Bail for Calhoun was set at $50,000, while Houston’s bail was set at $40,000 during Friday’s hearing, presided over by District Court Judge Bruce Jordan. Bail conditions for the two both include no contact with their victim or anyone else under the age of 18, and no visits to the victim’s residence.
Their next court appearances are set for Feb. 10.
The arrests took place at the Ramada Inn on Odlin Road, after Bangor police were asked to assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation with a missing person case involving a 13-year-old Lisbon girl who was allegedly soliciting prostitution on Backpage in Boston, Bangor and Portland, according to court documents.
The ad, copies of which were included in the court files, was for a 21-year-old “Spanish Doll” available for outcalls in the Bangor area.
The girl was with the pair when FBI special agents and Bangor police conducted a sting at the hotel in the wee hours of New Year’s Eve.
In a report submitted to the court, Bangor police Detective Brent Beaulieu said that at about 10 p.m. on Dec. 30, he received a call from FBI Special Agent James McCarty.
McCarty told him that the FBI had been helping Lisbon police locate a runaway local girl and had learned that the girl was with two adults and had been soliciting prostitution through Backpage.com. A recent post to the girl’s page indicated that she was in Bangor.
Beaulieu said he found the girl’s most recent ad and called the number and set up an encounter.
“I told her that I had seen her ad on Backpage and the ad said that I should ask about her specials. She asked if I wanted a half hour or a full hour and I asked what the difference was,” he wrote.
“I was told that the half was $150 and the full hour was $200,” Beaulieu said. “I told her that I would be able to pay for the full hour. She asked for my address and I explained to her that I had children and would have to drive a short distance to Bangor to get a room. She told [me] that she was near the casino and I could just text her the address.”
Beaulieu stated that he called the Ramada and told him who he was and asked if a room there could be used for an investigation. He was told there was a room he could use.
Shortly after 1 a.m. on Dec. 31, the detective received a text from the girl saying she was on her way to the motel. A vehicle with Calhoun, Houston and the teenager then pulled up.
After the teenager got out of the vehicle and went into the motel, the two adults were taken into custody by city police and federal agents.
When the girl arrived at the room police set up for the sting, she was greeted by Beaulieu.
“She immediately embraced me and [McCarty] and [Bangor police] Officer [Shannon] Davis entered her sight. We identified ourselves and asked her if she would step into the main room to talk with us,” Beaulieu wrote. “She was immediately confrontational with [McCarty] and said that we couldn’t prove anything. She added that she had no money on her.”
In separate interviews with police, the three gave conflicting accounts of what had been taking place.
Houston claimed, among other things, that his only role was as a chauffeur. He said he was not aware of any prostitution and that he believed the girl to be older, Bangor police Detective Tim Shaw wrote in his report, also filed in court.
He told police that Calhoun was the sister of his child’s mother, who lives in Boston. He said that Calhoun spent the hours leading to the arrests at Hollywood Casino, where the girl met with a customer.
Calhoun, who has an extensive criminal history, told police she met the teenager through her brother, who is in rehab, and that they’d known each other for eight or nine months.
The girl initially denied engaging in prostitution but eventually told police that she was giving Calhoun and Houston half of the money she was making.
The teenager, who was not arrested or charged, was released to her mother about 5:30 a.m., Shaw said.
If convicted of the Class B felony trafficking charge, Calhoun and Houston face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.