Police in San Antonio have arrested what they describe as a “smooth talking man” who preyed on college women who were financially vulnerable, convincing dozens of them to be part of his prostitution business, officials said on Tuesday.
Steven Sumlin, 38, was arrested at his home in San Antonio on Monday and charged with felony aggravated promotion of prostitution, police said.
Sumlin is suspected of going to college campuses in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas and telling women they could make hundreds or thousands of dollars doing unspecified jobs in his business, according to San Antonio Police Officer Douglas Greene, a spokesman.
“That was the hook, that’s what would get the females to contact him,” he said. “He would make all sorts of promises to these women and before you know it, they were caught up in a prostitution ring.”
Greene says thirty women in the three cities are being considered victims of Sumlin. The suspect used threats of exposure and violence to lock them into his enterprise, authorities said.
“These threats were significant enough to convince these young ladies to feel that they had been forced into this line of work,” Greene said.Bexar County Jail records show Sumlin was released on bond on Monday night. The records did not list an attorney for him.
The investigation had been going on for six months and involved vice officers working undercover. Police said their main job was to convince the women they would not be harmed if they came forward.