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Phoenix-area man sentenced to 354 years in prison for child prostitution

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona man was sentenced Friday to 354 years in prison for child prostitution.

Deandre James, 43, had been found guilty last month on 19 counts, including sexual conduct with a minor and child sex trafficking.

According to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, James convinced a 15-year-old girl to work as a prostitute for him in 2015 and split the money with her.

He also had sex with the girl and gave her drugs, the attorney’s office said.

Authorities at one point sent the victim to a group home, but James convinced her to leave and continue working for him.

He also tried to recruit a 17-year-old girl to work as a prostitute for him.

At some point, sex trafficking investigators spoke to the first victim, who told them about her relationship with the defendant.

The attorney’s office said when James was arrested, he claimed he thought she was 18 when he had sex with her, and that he was not involved in prostitution.

“Today’s sentencing is the result of the work by investigators and our prosecutors to ensure a defendant who made a living by preying on these young victims is never able to do this again,” Deputy County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said in a press release.

“Despite the difficulty of providing their experiences to a jury and the court, these victims ensured the justice served today was possible.”

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