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A man and a woman will spend decades behind bars after they were convicted of sex trafficking and producing child pornography involving three teenaged runaways, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

Detroiter Willie Curry, 36, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for taking explicit photographs of three victims, ages 15 and 16, and posting the images in advertisements for paid sex with the victims.

He used threats of physical violence to control his victims and beat one with a metal broomstick “when she disobeyed his rules,” officials said.

Co-defendant Tammy Pollard, 37, of Saginaw received 25 years in prison for helping create the pornography and driving the victims around Detroit looking for men to pay for sex.

Curry and Pollard were convicted after a two-week jury trial in federal court before U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood.

Curry was also convicted of illegally possessing a firearm.

The pair found their victims after the minors ran away from a Mount Pleasant residence, where they had been placed by a juvenile court, officials said.

Curry convinced the teens to accompany him to Detroit with promises of new clothes and cellphones. But once in the city, he coerced his victims to participate in the sex trafficking.

“When one of the victims refused to comply with Curry’s demands to engage in sex acts with strangers for money, he raped her,” officials said. “The next day, the victim climbed out of the bathroom window and fled from the home.”

The girl fled to a nearby gas station, where she approached a woman who called the girl’s father. The father, whose hometown was not released, immediately began driving toward Detroit, while the good Samaritan kept the girl in her care.

“The woman returned the girl to her father near Lansing,” officials said. “The girl was then interviewed by the Michigan State Police, and the information she provided led to the rescue of the other two victims from Curry’s home.”

McQuade in a statement condemned the defendants for their actions.

“These defendants preyed on young, vulnerable victims, using false promises, threats and violence to compel them to engage in sex acts for his own profit,” she said. “Sex traffickers like these treat human beings like commodities to be traded for cash.”

Special Agent David Gelios, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, called the offenses “horrific.”

“The FBI takes human trafficking crimes very seriously and is committed to investigating the systematic abuse and exploitation of children and adults,” he said.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Southeastern Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Mount Pleasant Police Department and the Michigan State Police.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

@HollyPFournier

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