MIAMI, FL—Prosecutors found two South Florida men— including an ex-Miami Beach police officer who posed as a talent scout as a means of luring aspiring female models to travel to Miami for purported auditions— guilty of videotaping the rapes of at least nine drugged women and subsequently selling the pornographic footage to various adult film websites and businesses. According to a press release by the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida, as well as reports by the Sun Sentinel, former Miami Beach cop Lavont Flanders Jr. and his partner in crime, Emerson “Jah-T” Callum were convicted of a combined 32 counts of distribution of Xanax, conspiracy and human trafficking, some of which dated back to May 2006.
Seven of the nine known rape victims, whom live in different parts of the nation and traveled to South Florida at the time of their attacks, testified in the case. Those women all claimed they were initially “contacted online by a female model.” That model happened to be Flanders. According to the press release, “In this way, Flanders contacted the victims about purported modeling auditions in Miami. After the victims provided their phone numbers, they would receive a call from a purported modeling scout – again, defendant Flanders – who claimed to represent large, multi-national companies, like Bacardi, Sony, or Paramount Pictures. Flanders told the victims that he liked their “look” and offered them a supposed role in an audition in Miami.”
Upon meeting with the aspiring models who agreed to take part in the phony auditions, Flanders informed them that they would be trying out for a part in a commercial for alcoholic beverages. Little did they know that the drinks they were told to “promote” for the so-called audition were spiked with benzodiazepines—a date rape drug. “Once the drugs had taken effect, Flanders drove the victims to Callum, who had sex with the victims while Flanders filmed them. Flanders and Callum then edited, produced, and sold the footage of the sex acts over the Internet and to pornography stores and businesses across the country,” the press release went on to explain.
Lavont Flanders Jr., a 40-year-old Miami Gardens man, was convicted of 18 of the 32 counts in the indictment. Five of those 18 counts were related to the distribution of the benzodiazepine, Xanax. Flanders was also found guilty of “enticing and conspiring to entice the women to South Florida, knowing that fraud would be used to cause the women to engage in commercial sex acts,” according to the press release.
While Emerson Callum, Flanders’ 45-year-old accomplice from Miami, was also convicted of “enticing and conspiring to entice the women to South Florida, knowing that fraud would be used to cause the women to engage in commercial sex acts,” he did not face any counts related to the distribution of Xanax. Both Flanders and Callum face potential life sentences and are scheduled to be sentenced in the case on Feb. 16.
According to past NBC Miami reports, one of the rape victims filed a sexual assault lawsuit naming not only Flanders and Callum, but BlackPlanet.com—
the social networking website that put her in contact with them— as defendants. Flanders and Callum were arrested on Aug. 17, following an FBI raid in which agents confiscated multiple boxes of porn DVDs, as well as other pieces of unspecified evidence in the case.
About the Miami Rape Victim Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A.
Working closely with advocacy groups such as the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), the Miami injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz are dedicated to protecting and enforcing the rights of rape and sexual assault victims. With more than 30 years of experiencing litigating a variety of complex injury and assault claims, the South Florida injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. will fight to help victims of sexual assault and rape obtain the justice a compensation they deserve.