Felon accused of forcing girl into prostitution to stand trial

MURRIETA – An ex-con accused of using abuse and threats to force a girl to prostitute herself in cities throughout the Inland Empire must stand trial on multiple felony charges, a judge ruled Thursday, Oct. 12.

Lawrence Lamont Randall, 31, of Hemet was arrested in May following an investigation by the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.

At the end of a preliminary hearing today at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Kelly Hansen ruled there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial for Randall on charges of pimping, sex trafficking, unlawful detention, firearm assault, being a convicted felon in possession of a gun and a sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegation.

Hansen scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Oct. 26 and left the defendant’s bail set at $590,000. Randall is being held at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. John Sawyer, in late April, a 19-year-old woman, whose identity was not disclosed, told investigators that she had been intimidated into working for Randall, who forced her to provide sexual services in the cities of Hemet, Palm Springs, Pomona and San Bernardino.

Sawyer alleged the defendant would advertise the young woman’s availability via an online classifieds site or make her find clients in “well-known prostitution corridors.”

“The victim was compelled to participate in these commercial sex acts through threats or acts of violence against her,” the sergeant said. “These acts of violence included Randall choking the victim, hitting her head against a wall, threatening her with a firearm and burning lit cigarettes against her bare skin.”

The woman remained under his control for about six weeks, between March and April, according to Sawyer.

Task force investigators were able to corroborate some of the victim’s allegations through another woman who had worked for the defendant, Sawyer said.

Randall was stopped and arrested without incident on May 10 in the area of Oakland Avenue and Santa Fe Street, the same day deputies raided his property on East Devonshire Avenue.

According to court records, he has prior convictions for evading arrest, possession of drugs for sale and disturbing the peace.

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