News and Tribune

May 15, 2014

Drugs, abuse at center of Southern Indiana prostitution ring

Leader reportedly manipulated women hooked on heroin to have sex for money

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Charlestown police have broken up a Southern Indiana prostitution ring involving teenage women hooked on heroin.

The Tuesday arrest of David McNeary, 32, who is believed to have used drugs to entice women into having sex for money, put an end to the operation.  

McNeary, aka Cuz, was arrested in Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 on three counts class C felony charges of promoting prostitution.

Three women have been arrested in connection with the operation: Abigail Frazier, 19, Sellersburg; Jazmen Hodges, 19, New Albany; and Shanda Asher, 20, New Albany. Another woman has been questioned but has not been charged nor has a warrant been issued against her.

Charlestown police set up surveillance on Frazier’s home in late February after learning she may have been involved in promoting prostitution on a website that advertises for goods and services — similar to Craigslist — with McNeary and the three other women.

She was also involved in a controlled buy of prescription drugs set up by Charlestown police while surveillance was being conducted.

Nearly a week after initiating surveillance, Frazier was taken into custody March 4 after police found her in a vehicle at Jeffersonville’s Mayfair Hotel after she had been given $150 for sex.

When she was told police had evidence that she had promoted prostitution Frazier replied, “Yes. I did it. I am a prostitute. I was going to have sex with him for $150 for a half hour, and then I was going to get high on heroin.”

She told investigators that she “sleeps with a lot of Jons in Charlestown, Jeffersonville and Louisville,” according to the probable cause affidavit.

She said McNeary, 13 years her elder, set up profiles on the website for her and other girls with their names, pictures and the numbers to cell phones he had provided to them.

Frazier said when the “Jons” call or text, she and the other women take the calls and set up sexual encounters either at Hodges’ home in New Albany, where the girls would often stay, or a hotel or the homes of the “Jons.”

When asked how often she would meet with a Jon, she said “Three to seven guys a night, depending upon if she needed more money for heroin.”

She said the girls worked under the direction of McNeary.

“David McNeary (Cuz) was the pimp,” Frazier said, adding that he would drive them to and from their appointments.

Frazier told police about the abusive nature of her relationship with McNeary. She said he would, at times, force her to work for him, and he would not let her go home without his approval. Frazier said McNeary would strike her when she “talks smart or talks back to him.”

She also said she was scared of him because he carries a handgun in his vehicle.

During the interview, “Frazier put her head down and started crying and stated she feels like a ‘slave or somebody’s property,’” police reported.

Frazier said McNeary uses her heroin addiction to get her to prostitute and make money for him. She claims that on one occasion she was kept for three weeks confined to a room and was given heroin to feel better.

“[Frazier] stated they would keep her drugged up so she would not know where she was at,” police reported.

Prostitution ring unusual in region

Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said the investigation is ongoing and unusual for Southern Indiana.

“In Clark County we do not see organized prostitution rings very often,” Mull said. “It is not unusual for one individual to post an ad online and to solicit that type of activity, but to have multiple individuals who are doing that in an organized fashion is not common.”

Mull said it is common, however, to find prostitution motivated for the purpose of obtaining money for drug use.

“I don’t know if [all the women involved] were heroin users, but I can tell you that as we did the investigation, heroin became a very prominent theme in the ring.”

Mull said it appears to him that McNeary did victimize some of the women, but that they are also responsible for their actions.

“I think anytime somebody is a drug addict that is there own fault, and they are responsible for that, but certainly individuals who feed that habit and engage in conduct to continue helping them get supplied with drugs are victimizing,” Mull said. “They are in a weakened state at that time, less able to help themselves and less able to make good decisions, therefore people who prey on them or capitalize on that for monetary gain would be victimizing them, as I see it.”

Frazier was arrested March 5 and has been charged with dealing in controlled substances, a class B felony, possession of controlled substances and promoting prostitution, both class C felonies, and class A misdemeanor prostitution.

Hodges was arrested March 31, after Charlestown police recommended charges of criminal confinement, promoting prostitution, prostitution and maintaining a common nuisance.

Asher has not been arrested but is wanted on preliminary charges of criminal confinement, promoting prostitution, prostitution and maintaining a common nuisance.