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Philadelphia Pimp Who Prostituted Minors in Bucks Sent to State Prison

April 18, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jennifer Schorn, 215.348.6337, jmschorn@buckscounty.org

A man who forced two runaway Philadelphia girls to earn him $1,000 per day by prostituting themselves was sentenced Friday in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas to serve 7 ½ to 15 years in state prison.

Anthony Brooks, 23, of Philadelphia, had pleaded guilty last year to multiple prostitution-related felonies, including human trafficking. He admitted enlisting two girls, ages 15 and 17, who had fled a protective placement home in Philadelphia, to work for him as prostitutes.

Brooks then shopped the girls in provocative online ads, shuttled them between motel rooms in Philadelphia and Bucks County to have paid sex with men, confiscated all of their earnings, and assaulted them if they failed to obey him.

“I can’t make ($1,000) a day with the prices you use,” one of the girls complained to Brooks in a recorded phone call played in court. Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Schorn said each girl had to have sex with six to 10 men each day to meet Brooks’ monetary quotas for them.

By the time Bensalem Township detectives began investigating Brooks in early 2014, he already was in prison for shooting a man in Philadelphia in a dispute over $10 and a pack of cigarettes. Yet he continued to oversee his prostitution business over the phone through his girlfriend, whom he manipulated with false promises of marriage and gifts.

Recordings of prison and wiretapped calls from Brooks, in which he ordered and cajoled the girlfriend and one of the teens to follow his directions, were played at the sentencing.

Police had seen Brooks’ prostitution advertisements on a web site known for sex trafficking. An undercover detective answered one of the ads and was directed to a motel in the Trevose section of Bensalem. After the teens offered the detective sex with both of them for $200, police took the girls into custody. They said Brooks went by the name “Tony Montana,” the violent protagonist played by Al Pacino in the movie “Scarface.”

Before sentencing Brooks, Bucks County Senior Judge John J. Rufe found him to be a sexually violent predator, meaning that Brooks has been shown to have a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes him likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses. As such, he will be publicly registered in a sex offender database for the rest of his life, severely limiting his post-prison social and employment opportunities.

“He’s going to be supervised for the rest of his life,” Rufe said.

The designation came after a hearing in which psychologist Eric Weinstein, an expert in sexual offender assessment, testified that Brooks has antisocial personality disorder. The disorder is characterized by such things as predatory behavior, deceitfulness, lack of remorse and empathy, disregard of rules and violating the rights of others.

Weinstein said there is no cure for antisocial personality disorder, other than confining the offender through incarceration or probation. He said the disorder begins to abate as an offender ages, typically after age 40. He described Brooks’ behavior as “parasitic; that is, living off of others for personal gain.”

In addition to his aggravated assault and human trafficking convictions, Brooks was adjudicated delinquent for committing a robbery at age 15, and in 2013 severely beat a rival prostitute with his fists and a wooden hangar, Weinstein said.

“There’s no words to describe the things I’ve done,” Brooks told Rufe, casting himself as the victim of a childhood full of abuse and neglect. “I’ve been in a well of darkness all of my life.”

His grandmother, Cynthia Pendergrast, testified that she repeatedly took Brooks into her home throughout his childhood after he was abandoned by his mother and physically abused by his father. She said he came and went to and from different homes in different states at his parents’ whims, once calling her at age 8 from a Philadelphia orphanage where he had been abandoned.

After reconciling with his father in his late teens, Pendergrast said, Brooks was riding with him on a motorcycle when it crashed, killing his father in front of him.

Pendergrast, a pastor who runs several ministries for the downtrodden in Philadelphia, said her grandson was extremely intelligent, but needed to be counseled by “someone to talk to about all his hurts and pain and wounds.”

Defense attorney Louis Busico, acknowledgeing that Brooks grew up to be “nothing but a street punk, plain and simple,” said Brooks nonetheless had a background very similar to that of the prostitutes he had victimized.

“The lives in this case converge in criminality,” Busico argued. “But they really came along a path that was eerily similar.”

Schorn dismissed those claims, noting that many teens overcome such backgrounds without becoming career criminals, and that Brooks had already embarked on a life of crime by the time he witnessed his father’s death.

She also noted that the teen prostitutes he victimized, unlike Brooks, had no extended family to take them in after they ran from their group shelter. By the time Brooks preyed on them, she said, “they don’t think they have any other option.”

The girls have since been moved to better environments out of state and are thriving, Schorn added, with one of them soon to attend college.

Rufe said that when he first considered Brooks’ crimes, “I wanted to throw a 20- or 30-year sentence at the defendant.” Ultimately, he said, he rejected the notion that Brooks is incapable of turning his life around.

The Bucks County sentence will run concurrent with a four- to 10-year sentence that Brooks is serving for the Philadelphia shooting. After being released from prison, Brooks will be supervised on probation for an additional 10 years, Rufe ordered.

“He is still a young man,” the judge said. “He still has a life available to him after he completes his sentence.”

Approved for release by Marc J. Furber, Deputy District Attorney.

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