Jury convicts Milwaukee man of raping two girls at local motel

Jury convicts Milwaukee man of raping two girls at local motel

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - District Attorney Leon Cannizarro calls the case of the most disturbing he's ever come across.

"This is right there in my opinion when you take someone's life," says Cannizarro. "You have essentially taken someone's life at a young and tender age and you've transformed them into something that they were not meant to be, that's not a natural thing for them to be engaging in."

An Orleans Parish jury convicted 56-year-old Freeman of two-counts of first degree rape against a five-year-old girl and a 10-year-old girl on Friday, October 28. The vote was unanimous.

The investigation started in 2013 after a woman, who says Freeman forced her into prostitution at the age of 13 in Wisconsin, then forced her children, the five-year-old and 10-year-old into that same lifestyle. Not only here but across the country.

"The fact that these children are constantly being exploited and dragged around the country at such a young age and only learning this life and being trapped in this world is very disturbing," says Tiffany Tucker, Assistant District Attorney.

During Freeman's trial, the 10-year-old girl testified against him. She told jurors from the age of five she was exploited.

"The purpose of all of this was to groom and prepare these children for what he anticipated their future life would be. That of selling themselves to a variety of people throughout his country for profits to him," said Tucker.

Prosecutors say Freeman would use the now demolished Capri Motel on Tulane Avenue and Bourbon Street to entice clients.

"As we learned from both the person who testified on behalf of the defendant yesterday as well as the people who were related to the defendant, Bourbon St. is a big place they are able to bring women and have them prostitute or sell themselves for the community."

"They almost brainwash these women into thinking they have no other alternative, they have no choice," says Jim Kelly, Executive Director of Covenant House.

Kelly has seen the horrors of human trafficking.

He says women forced into the trade will often not speak up against the people who exploit them. And he commends the mother and her two children involved in Freeman's case for coming forward.

"Despite all they've been through, they are good," says Kelly. "They are beautiful and they are brave and they took the step to say we want to see him locked up and put away so he can't do this to other women and other children."

Prosecutors say when the rape of the two young girls happened, the mother was away giving birth to her third child.

Freeman faces a life in prison sentence for his conviction.

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