Accused teen pimp speaks to 3TVPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX - A 16-year-old girl accused of running a prostitution ring is speaking out from behind bars.
She claims she was simply hanging out with the wrong crowd and she was scared and did not know how to get out of it. Now the teen says she is really scared after she has been in jail for several days.
Tatiana Tye is in jail, facing felony charges -- one count of child prostitution and three counts of pandering -- as an adult. 3TV first showed you her picture on Monday, along with her 16-year-old friend Jazmine Finley.
Police are calling the duo madams as they are accused of recruiting high school girls between the ages of 14 and 17 to become prostitutes. Tye tells 3TV, "Me and my mom, we were having problems at the time."
Tuesday the former Carl Hayden High School and North Star Charter School student told 3TV that problems caused her to turn to Finley.
"Being a follower, not a leader, following whatever Jazmine does and those were bad things," she said.
Police say those bad things included recruiting girls right off the campuses of Trevor Browne, Alhambra and Maryvale high schools. These are allegations Tye denied.
Nevertheless, when asked by 3TV if she was a prostitute, Tye replied, "I don't want to answer that question."
Police say the two rented out some apartments as a brothel.
Tye points to Finley and explains, "I know that she had a pimp in the past, you know what I mean, because she's the one that introduced me to this whole prostitution thing. I never knew anything about it."
It is something she says her grandmother never warned her about.
The grandmother says, "It's been really hard and my heart is breaking for her."
As for a warning to other teens, Tye tells 3TV, "I would just tell them don't hang out with people that you know are doing bad stuff because they'll drag you down with them."
3TV tried to talk with Finley, but her guardian never arrived to grant permission for the interview.
Finley, also 16, is facing a variety of felony charges, including nine counts of child prostitution, two counts of receiving earnings of a prostitute and one count of pandering.
The following press release was sent by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office:
County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today that an indictment has been handed up containing charges related to a prostitution ring allegedly operated by two female teenagers. Jazmine Finley, 16 (DOB 11/11/92), has been charged with 12 felony counts, and Tatiana Tye, 16 (DOB 11/22/92), has been charged with four felony counts in the February 23, 2009 indictment. The defendants were arrested by Phoenix police on February 17, 2009 following an investigation that stretched over several months.
Finley has been charged with:
- 9 counts of Child Prostitution, class two felonies and dangerous crimes against children,
- 2 counts of Receiving Earnings of a Prostitute, class five felonies, and
- 1 count of Pandering, a class five felony.
Tye has been charged with:
- 1 count of Child Prostitution, a class two felony, and
- 3 counts of Pandering, class five felonies.
According to a Phoenix police probable cause statement, at least five victims between the ages of 14 and 17 were recruited by the defendants to act as prostitutes. Each was told of all the money they would be making. Additionally, they were told that it was better working for them as opposed to male pimps because they would not get beat up.
"The charges are substantial, as the crimes alleged in this case are serious," said Thomas. "We will prosecute accordingly."
The defendants will be tried in adult court. Deputy County Attorney Erin Otis is prosecuting the case.