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Lincoln woman encouraged teen to have sex for money, profited from it, police say
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Lincoln woman encouraged teen to have sex for money, profited from it, police say

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A viral Twitter thread about one woman's experience of sex trafficking during a 2015 trip to Florida has been turned into a movie, "Zola."

A 50-year-old Lincoln woman appeared in court from jail Tuesday on a child abuse charge for allegedly encouraging a teenage girl to have sex for money and profiting from it. 

The Lancaster County Attorney's Office charged Sonja Douglas with the felony in connection to an investigation that started in December 2019, when a witness reported that a 15-year-old girl was engaging in commercial sex acts out of a home near 56th and Holdrege streets with Douglas' encouragement.

Sonja Douglas

Sonja Douglas

Deputy County Attorney Amy Goodro asked the judge to set a $150,000 bond saying Douglas knew the teen was selling sexual acts, photos and videos and had benefited from the money being paid to the girl. 

She said the girl reported being directed by Douglas to perform sexual acts to earn money for specific items. 

Douglas said she couldn't pay the bond. But Lancaster County Court Judge Joseph Dalton said, given the seriousness of the offense, the amount was reasonable. 

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She would need $15,000 to bond out of jail. 

In the affidavit for Douglas' arrest, Officer Kyle Meyerson said the witness told police Douglas told the girl to "go work your little magic trick," encouraging her to find someone on Snapchat. 

When police talked to the girl then, she admitted she had been taking money for sex acts but denied Douglas was aware. 

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Meyerson said on Sunday the same teenager called police saying that since she was 13 or 14 she had engaged in commercial sexual activity hundreds of times and that Douglas knew it and profited from it. 

When police arrested Douglas on Sunday afternoon, she denied knowing the girl was engaging in the activity or accepting any money derived from that type of activity. 

If convicted as charged, she would face up to three years in prison and could be ordered to register as a sex offender. 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger

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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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