HOUGHTON — Three Houghton County men face charges of child sex crimes after a joint investigation by Houghton County Sheriff’s Office and partners of the U.P. HOST (Human Oppression Strike Team).
Three adults between the ages of 21 and 34 messaged online with undercover officers posing as minors. They later showed up at hotels to pay for sex with minors.
Taken into custody were Jeffrey Redd, 34, of Laurium; Kahleb Senia-Wicks, 21, of Calumet; and Jason Davis, 27, of Calumet.
The agencies involved in the investigations included Houghton County Sheriff Josh Saaranen and personnel, Keweenaw County Sheriff Curt Pennala and personnel, Baraga County Sheriff Joseph Brogan and personnel, Ontonagon County Sheriff Dale Rantala and personnel, Iron River Police Chief Curt Harrington, and the FBI.
Three charges were the same for each:
– child sexually abusive activity, a felony with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or $100,000. Conviction of this offense also carries requirements to register as a sex offender under the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act.
– use of a computer to commit child sexually abusive activity, a felony with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or $20,000. This charge carries with it the possibility of a consecutive sentence that is within the discretion of the sentencing court.
– accosting a child for immoral purposes, a felony with a maximum penalty of four years in prison and/or $4,000. Conviction of this offense also carries requirements to register as a sex offender under the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act.
Redd was also charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of cocaine, felonies with a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $25,000.
Davis, a registered sex offender who moved to Calumet from Wisconsin six months ago, was previously charged with child enticement in Marathon County trying to meet up with a 15-year-old girl for sex. He was sentenced to a year in jail, with the first six months to be served over two years and the second six months to be served in the event of any rules violations.
Operational expenses were grant funded through the task force partnership with O.U.R. (Operation Underground Railroad) Domestic Services.
The U.P. HOST team was created by the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force (UPHTTF), a nonprofit NGO formed to investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases at the local, state, and federal levels.
In a statement, UPHTTF President Stephanie Graef said she “commends the exceptional multi-agency collaboration, leadership, time dedication and resources allocated over the past several months by U.P. HOST Team lead Chief Curt Harrington, Keweenaw, Houghton, Baraga, Ontonagon Sheriff Offices and FBI to identify child sex predators.”
Sheriff Josh Saaranen said in a statement he appreciates the collaboration between the county sheriffs, UPHTTF and the UPHOST team.
“We’re working together to not only take predators into custody but to also make sure that there are strong avenues for individuals and victims to receive advocacy and help,” he said.
The Houghton County Sheriff Office is asking anyone who has been harmed by one of the suspects or has a loved one who has been harmed to call 906-482-0055 to help file a criminal complaint.
A 24/7 confidential helpline operated by the UPHTTF is available to the public to call for advocacy and help at 906-299-9243. To find more information, go to the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force site at upht123.org.