Mellisa Bennett, a 34-year-old mother from Norfolk, Virginia, has been arrested for allegedly pimping out her teenage daughter, according to a new report from WAVY.
The news site cites a police affidavit stating that Bennett “persuaded and harassed” her 18-year-old to commit sexual acts with strange men. If wondering how any parent could do that to their child, police say that Bennett explains her actions through a series of text messages to her daughter.
Apparently, the alleged coercion was “because they needed money.” While Mellisa Bennett does not deny that she encouraged her child to take part in these sex acts, she said that she would go along for the meetings “to protect her from the men she planned to meet,” the affidavit claims.
Bennett is looking at a court date in September following her July 17 arrest. Police claim that the sexual acts took place shortly after the girl’s 18th birthday between April and July of this year.
Money was used to pay rent, gas, cell phone bills, and hotel tabs.
In a separate report from WTKR, it was further revealed that the daughter would not be facing any charges of prostitution in spite of the fact that she was 18-years-old at the time of the incidents.
Also, the official charge that Mellisa Bennett will be facing is “pandering,” which according to Virginia law, is a charge related to human trafficking.
Patrick McKenna — founder of Virginia Beach Justice Initiative, a group devoted to raising awareness of human sex trafficking — was shocked, but not surprised by the alleged crime.
“Who wants to believe that that is happening? Who wants to believe that people are being used and abused in the community?” he said in comments to WTKR. “People need to know that it is happening here locally.”
Each incident reportedly happened in and around Norfolk, Virginia.
Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that Inquisitr has reported on this sort of thing of late. Take the case of Yolanda Ostoloza, who was convicted in November, 2014, of pimping out her 15-year-old daughter.
The 39-year-old mother was found guilty of promoting prostitution and endangering the welfare of a child, and faces 15 years behind bars.
Ostoloza was charging men $200 to have sex with her daughter, and an officer found that out at the Midtown’s New York Hilton when the young girl showed up after agreeing to a deal — which was a setup.
What do you think about cases like this and that of Mellisa Bennett? Should these types of parents never be allowed to see their children again, and what is a fitting punishment? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image of Mellisa Bennett via WTKR, linked above]