A man accused of sex trafficking remains in custody in Platte County since 2017 with no trial date set.
Christopher Ward, 29, of Kansas City, Kan. is being held in the Platte County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash-only bond on four charges, including sex trafficking of a child, sexual exploitation of a minor, possession of child pornography and tampering. Ward’s jury trial has been rescheduled several times, but he is set to appear before judge Thomas Fincham on Thursday, Sept. 26.
According to court documents, police conducted an undercover prostitution operation in March 2017 at a motel in the 7600 block of Northwest 97th Terrace in Kansas City North. The officer contacted a female via a website called Backpage.com, a site commonly used in the sex work industry, and arranged a transaction at the motel.
When he arrived and met the female, she agreed to perform sex acts for two hours at a cost of $650. She was taken into custody at the scene, as was Ward, who was a passenger in the vehicle in which the prostitute had arrived. Ward identified himself as the female’s boyfriend.
The female was identified as a minor, and later, while she was at the hospital, she received calls from Ward from the Jackson County Detention Center. She told police that Ward “thought she was snitching because he was in jail and she was not.”
Police reviewed previous Backpage.com ads using the same phone number and found references of a male partner joining the sexual activity. During previous talks with the minor, the officer was also able to identify an address on North Amoret associated with Ward.
“I have previously received photos of this victim that were sent to me in text messages that were not selfies and had to be taken by another individual,” the officer wrote in his statement of probable cause. “This is evidence of another party being involved in sex trafficking of this victim.”
During a search of the information on Ward’s phone, police found several nude photos of the girl, including photos of her engaged in sexual activities. Several of the photos were the same that appeared in Backpage.com ads. Videos of the girl engaged in sexual activities were also found.
Ward has a lengthy criminal history, including convictions of burglary, criminal possession of a firearm and possession of narcotics in Kansas.