West Palm Beach man, woman indicted on sex trafficking charges

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Two West Palm Beach residents have been indicted for luring a 16-year-old runaway into the sex trade.

Rashad Clark, 33, and Mandi Bowman, 22, are both charged in federal court with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor. Clark, known as "Shagg Dogg," also faces charges of sex trafficking of a minor and coercing and enticing minors to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Both face maximum life sentences.

The investigation that led to the two began when a man on Feb. 2 told West Palm Beach police that his stepdaughter was missing and he feared she was working as a prostitute, according to court records. Officers found a picture of the girl in an online ad for escort services. An undercover agent set up a "date" with the girl and they met at the Days Inn on 45th Street, records show.

The girl said she met Clark at an unidentified convenience store. He put her up at the Days Inn, had sex with her and became her pimp.

Bowman told investigators that she was also staying with Clark. She said she posted photos of the girl on the escort service's web site and, at Clark's direction, told the 16-year-old how to work as a prostitute, records show.

The investigation also involved the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Bowman has been ordered to remain in jail until trial. Clark is to appear before a federal judge Friday.