OAKLAND PARK, Fla. - On a poorly lit, dead-end street in an industrial section of Oakland Park, the lone house was known as the Boom Boom Room, a bordello offering food, alcohol, drugs and sex with women and underage girls, according to federal authorities.
One 17-year-old girl told federal authorities she would have sex there with as many as 20 men in a single night. A 14-year-old said the man charged with running the Boom Boom Room — convicted felon James "Red" Mozie — would choke her until she passed out.
Often by Mozie's side during that time was his girlfriend, Laschell "Shelly" Harris, who rented the rundown one-story house and lived there, according to court records. She collected money from the girls and women, sold food and alcohol to patrons and on occasion, watched as Mozie had sex with them as part of their "orientations," federal prosecutors said.
Harris, a former medical assistant, now faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to a life sentence after pleading guilty on Wednesday to a count of sex trafficking of a minor. Federal prosecutors agreed to drop four other sex trafficking charges against the mother of three.
Some of the girls described Harris as a house mother who cooked for them, prosecutors said. When Harris wanted to bond out of jail following the May raid, she even called one of the girls to speak on her behalf in court.
After U.S. Magistrate Robin Rosenbaum denied the bond request in May, she observed Harris' actions are "not the sorts of conduct associated with motherhood."
"They do not suggest that Harris had the girls' best interests at heart but rather that Harris encouraged and used her relationships with the minors to further the interests of the business and herself," Rosenbaum wrote.
Harris appeared again in court on Wednesday in handcuffs and leg shackles, answering U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas' questions in a calm, clear voice as she acknowledged her role in the prostitution operation.
Her plea leaves Mozie as the last remaining defendant fighting charges in the Boom Boom Room case. The brothel's armed doorman, Willie David Rice, pleaded guilty last month to illegally possessing a gun.
Mozie, 34, and Harris, 37, ran the Boom Boom Room for about a year out of 2140 NW 29th St. with the house open for business at night Tuesdays through Saturdays. They printed business cards and Mozie would send out mass text messages letting prospective clients know what would be happening each night, according to court records.
Before women and girls began working at the house, they had to fill out applications seeking biographical information and detailing what sex acts they were willing to perform, court records show. More than four underage girls said they listed their real dates of birth on the applications. Law enforcement found several of those applications in the house, according to court documents.
Law enforcement timed its early morning May 14 raid so the Boom Boom Room would be in full swing. Authorities said they found Rice manning the door with a gun and a walkie-talkie earpiece. Inside the house were 12 men, two women and two underage girls while pornography was playing on two large-screen televisions, court records show.
There is now a large Broward Sheriff's Office sign in front of the house, warning people to leave the premises or risk arrest.
Harris is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 16 at the Fort Lauderdale federal courthouse.