NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans man is accused of prostituting his girlfriend in a number of states and making her drug and rob men, including one who died.
Arraignment is scheduled Tuesday for Randy Jonal Schenck, who is accused in a federal indictment of posting sex ads with the woman’s photo in places that include California, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, and Georgia. Some of those ads “were explicitly commercial,” according to the indictment. Schenck’s arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.
The two met in early 2013, and Schenck made the woman prostitute herself from at least October 2013 until September 2017, when they were arrested in Sandy Springs, Georgia, according to the indictment.
Schenck, also known as “RuRu” and “Shaq,” was indicted earlier this month on charges of sex trafficking by coercion; transporting someone for prostitution; using an interstate facility for illegal activity, which involved posting ads for paid sex on websites or an app; wire fraud for using the debit card of the man who died; and aggravated theft of the man’s identity. Penalties range from 15 years to life if he is convicted on all charges.
His court-appointed attorney, Arthur Lemann III, did not respond to an email and call Thursday requesting comment.
The man who died is identified only by the initials S.A. in the indictment handed up Feb. 7 and in a sworn statement filed with the woman’s guilty plea in December on charges of identity theft and conspiracy. News accounts have identified him as Shawn Arthur, 40, of suburban Metairie, whose body was found when Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies made a wellness check Feb. 25, 2017.
That was the day after the woman met with “S.A.” and drugged his drink, according to court documents. She has pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy and agreed to a seven-year sentence. Although she has been identified in court documents and news reports, The Associated Press is withholding her name as a victim of an alleged sex crime.
Arthur’s father, Bob Arthur, was glad the federal government filed charges but questioned why the local district attorney had not.
The charges against Schenck and the woman do not “deal with the loss of life,” Bob Arthur said in a statement to The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate. “Whether intentional or not, our son Shawn Arthur died while a felony was being committed in his apartment. … According to Louisiana law, that is murder.”
The District Attorney’s Office declined comment, the newspaper reported.
The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office originally classified Arthur’s death as accidental but changed it to “unclassified” soon after the Huffington Post published an article about the case.
The woman’s sworn statement said Schenck convinced her to work as an escort but about two months later coerced her — partly by promising to help her get custody of her children — into a “prostitution-based criminal operation.” That “evolved” into spiking the drinks of victims and steal from them, she said. Schenck controlled her by threatening, slapping, beating and choking her and threatening to hurt or have someone else hurt her relatives, according to the statement.
The indictment against Schenck accuses him of posting ads on the now-defunct website “Backpage.com” in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona; Los Angeles and Bakersfield, California, and Albuquerque, New Mexico; and of using the social media app “Meet Me” to “meet and thereafter schedule interaction with S.A.”
Schenck and the woman used S.A.’s debit card at a Walmart and a Discount City market and gas station, according to the indictment. He drove her from Louisiana to Georgia and to Arizona for prostitution.
The indictment’s descriptions of specific offenses do not mention Texas or Tennessee. The woman’s statement describes a victim in Houston.
That statement also says Schenck and the woman were arrested at a Georgia hotel after a victim — from whom a safe, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, multiple smartphones and a laptop computer had been stolen — used “Find My iPhone” and located one of his phones there.
At the time of arrest, the woman “was bleeding from her nose, had a swollen lip and puncture consistent with her teeth biting through her lip, and a substance consistent with black electrical tape around one of her arms,” the indictment said.