The man convicted of running an Oakland Park brothel called the Boom Boom Room was sentenced to life in federal prison Monday.
James “Red” Mozie, 35, was convicted of eight counts of child sex trafficking, one count of conspiring to commit child sex trafficking and one count of producing child pornography by taking cell phone photos of an under-age girl.
Prosecutors said he recruited eight girls between the ages of 13 and 17 to give lap dances and have sex with customers. Mozie also made the girls go through what he called “orientation” or “testing the merchandise” which involved having sex with him after filling out an application form about what sex acts they would perform.
To signal to customers that he was open for business, Mozie would turn on a green light on the porch and send out texts inviting clients to attend his “parties” and fish nights. He was busted after a tip was called in to Crime Stoppers and business owners on the industrial street where he ran the bordello in his home gathered a petition complaining about what they saw.
Ignoring the advice of his lawyer, Mozie gave an articulate 23-minute speech to U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas during the sentencing hearing in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, alleging numerous violations of his rights and misconduct by authorities.
“What’s happening here today is a travesty of justice,” Mozie said. He called the investigation a “witch hunt” though he did not actually deny that he ran the brothel and recruited the girls.
Mozie’s wife, Laschell “Shelly” Harris, 38, is serving 13 years in federal prison in Tallahassee. She admitted she helped him run the brothel and was involved in the sex-trafficking of a child. Witnesses also testified that she acted as a kind of “house mother” to the workers. She admitted that she watched when Mozie had sex with the girls and that she was involved in running the business.
Mozie asked to be allowed to continue to have contact with Harris, though the Bureau of Prisons does not allow conjugal visits. The judge said it was up to prison authorities to decide if they can communicate.
Dimitrouleas also criticized the Miami-Dade criminal justice system for its lax sentencing of Mozie for prior crimes, including armed robbery, possession of a gun by a felon, and drug charges, after serving short jail terms.
“I think Mr. Mozie’s criminal history is an indictment of the Miami-Dade criminal justice system … he has never been in state prison,” Dimitrouleas said, adding that the system is “overburdened and has not been working for a long time.”
The judge said it was a shame that Mozie used his apparent intelligence into recruiting child prostitutes and “ruining the lives of these runaway girls.”
He sentenced Mozie to life for the first nine counts and 30 years in prison for the tenth charge. He also categorized him as a sex offender and ordered he should have no unsupervised contact with children under 18.
Mozie, who said he plans to appeal, turned around to nod reassuringly at family members who became upset when they heard the prison term.
“It’s OK,” he mouthed to his two sisters and a brother.
None of the women and young girls who worked for Mozie attended the hearing though several of them testified during his trial. They said that Mozie, accompanied by his wife and other members of his family, tried to recruit girls on the street by promising that he could get them jobs as models and dancers.
One of the witnesses, a 10th-grader, said she ran away from home and made $270 in a single night at the brothel by having sex with four men, including Mozie.
Dressed in skimpy outfits, the girls would dance for customers in a large living room area. Clients who wanted to have sex had to pay $50 to get into a private area the proprietor called the Boom Boom Room.
Once the cash changed hands, the customer, the girl, a condom and an egg timer set to ring after 30 minutes were sent off into the room.
Not all of the girls agreed to have sex with Mozie and his customers — though many of them did — but even the effort to entice them into working as prostitutes was sufficient to convict him.