Foster father accused of pimping child expected to plead guilty

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Crime,Freeman Klopott

A Temple Hills man is expected to plead guilty to selling young girls for sex, one of whom a federal judge described as his foster child, court records show.

The girl, referred to only as "S.H." in court documents, also was raped by Shelby Lewis, a D.C. detective testified in Washington's federal court earlier this year. Lewis is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday afternoon, court records show. His attorney did not immediately return calls for comment Wednesday.

The 42-year-old's foster daughter was one of several girls Lewis is accused of trafficking from Maryland to D.C.'s popular prostitution track at 14th and K streets Northwest.

Lewis was arrested in May and held without bail, in part because his "role as a foster care provider to S.H. while also acting as her 'pimp' militate against pretrial release," U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson wrote. Few details have emerged since Robinson's statements regarding Lewis' role as the girl's foster father. Documents regarding foster care are sealed, a situation that needs to be changed, said Matthew Fraidin, a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia who has taken on the city's foster system. This is "a commentary on the limits imposed by closed courts," Fraidin said. "The file in the courthouse -- whether in Maryland or D.C. -- has miles of paper with an ocean of information about the child victim and will reveal who was too burdened, too incompetent or too uncaring to protect her." Without changes, he said, foster children will continue to be victimized. The foster child was one of the youngest of Lewis' alleged stable of prostitutes, according to court documents. She started working for him when she was 12 and continued to do so for two and a half years. The detective testified that Lewis had sex with his foster child and another who worked for Lewis for three years, starting when she was 13. Lewis was first taken into custody after D.C. police arrested two of his alleged victims -- ages 14 and 16 -- while they walked the 14th and K streets track, court documents said. Soon after their arrests, police located a 13-year-old girl who had been reported missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Authorities said Lewis had been prostituting her for three years.

fklopott@washingtonexaminer.com

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Freeman Klopott

Examiner Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner