Three people charged with pimping a 17-year-old girl to several men in Grand Forks in early 2011 pleaded not guilty Wednesday in state district court.

If convicted of trafficking a minor, Amanda Stewart, 22, Joshua Harry, 27, and Travis Johnson, 29, could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Johnson also is charged with a felony corruption of a minor for allegedly having sex with the 17-year-old.

Prosecutors say he asked the girl in late 2010 to be a prostitute. She declined at first, but changed her mind later, after which he coerced her into sex with him. Johnson then introduced her to Harry and Stewart, who took her to appointments with potential johns.

Investigators say Harry advertised the girl online at Backpage.com, a controversial website blamed by authorities in several states for facilitating underage prostitution. Employees of the website are listed as possible witnesses for the prosecution.

The girl, now 19, said she was taken to a handful of apartments, houses and motel rooms in Grand Forks.

Stewart remains free on $10,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 10, according to prosecutor Meredith Larson.

Harry and Johnson remain in the Grand Forks County jail under $50,000 bonds. They are scheduled in court Jan. 10.

Stewart's attorney, Darla Schuman, said it was too early in the process to comment on the case.

The only customer charged has been Michael Delmore, a retired high school counselor. He pleaded not guilty last month, through his attorney, and is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 6 on a misdemeanor charge of soliciting sex.

Call Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1237; or send email to slee@gfherald.com.