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Central Illinois sex trafficker sentenced to life in prison

PEORIA (WEEK) -- A Springfield man has been sentenced to multiple life prison terms for trafficking young women for sex.

The Department of Justice said Franshon Stapleton, 48, ran his prostitution enterprise from a Champaign motel and used women recruited from Peoria, Champaign and Sangamon counties.

In a release, Stapleton is accused of arranging encounters, setting the price and collected the money.

Prosecutors described the degradation and manipulation Stapleton used in 2017 and 2018 to exploit desperate young women as they fought drug addiction and homelessness.

They say Stapleton used violence and threats of violence to force women to engage in sex with men. The release goes on to say that Stapleton exploited his victim's desperation as he ensured the women were "indebted" to him for the motel rooms, drugs and food that he provided.

During Stapleton's sentencing, District Judge James E. Shadid said that a sentence of anything less than life would "ignore the nature of the offense, the impact to the victims, the defendant’s lack of remorse, his prior criminal history, and the sentencing guidelines."

Stapleton was ordered to serve a life sentence for each of the four counts of sex trafficking.

He pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him on September 28, 2020.

Jason Howell

Producer at 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC

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