A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday alleges a Wisconsin man and a female accomplice forced four women to travel between Utah and several other states to engage in prostitution.
Ontario Lowery, 34, of LaCrosse, Wisc., was arraigned Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells. He pleaded not guilty to the nine counts listed in the indictment.
Alyssa K. Turtenwald, 22, also of LaCrosse, remains at large.
Prosecutors allege that in July 2011, the pair allegedly coerced, threatened and forced two women to travel between Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nevada, California and Utah to engage in prostitution. They placed ads on escort service websites to solicit customers, who met the women at hotels where they were staying. The two women were arrested in July 2011 in Salt Lake City and told police they were afraid to flee because the man physically assaulted them, confiscated their identification cards, slept with the car keys and kept all the money they earned.