Attorney General Chris Carr announced Thursday that Christopher Weldon has pleaded guilty to one count each of human trafficking and statutory rape.
A Clayton County Superior Court Judge accepted the plea on July 25, 2022, and sentenced the defendant to 25 years, including 15 years to be served in custody. Weldon will also be listed on the sex offender registry. The victim was present in court and provided a victim impact statement.
“For three years, our Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit has poured over this multi-defendant case to ensure that the buyers and sellers are held responsible for the role they played in trafficking an underage girl,” said Carr.
“With this guilty plea and prison sentence, we are one step closer to securing maximum justice for the victim, who has shown incredible strength and bravery throughout the criminal justice process. As we have maintained since the very beginning, we are deeply committed to protecting the most vulnerable among us, and we will not rest until those who abuse and exploit Georgia’s children are put behind bars.”
Upon creation of the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit in 2019, Chief Investigator Bryan Kimbell re-opened a case that had previously been closed by local jurisdictions and continued the investigation. This investigation revealed that Weldon assisted Theodore Browne, Jr. in sexually trafficking the underage victim. Throughout the course of the investigation, evidence further showed that the victim was sexually trafficked out of two hotels in Clayton County, where the defendant rented rooms and arranged for buyers to purchase the underage victim for sex. Electronic evidence was collected and supported the victim’s statement.
Both Browne and Weldon were previously indicted in September 2021. As part of the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit’s ongoing investigation, Carr announced two additional arrests on July 20, 2022.
A summary of the charges against Weldon is included below:
- Did knowingly harbor and provide a person under the age of 18 years, for the purpose of sexual servitude; charged with one count of Trafficking Persons for Sexual Servitude, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-46 (c).
- Being older than 21 years of age, did engage in sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years of age and not being the spouse of the accused; charged with one count of Statutory Rape, O.C.G.A. § 16-6-3(a).
The case occurred in 2018, at which time this Human Trafficking charge carried a maximum sentence of 20 years. Pursuant to subsequent legislation, cases which occurred after July 1, 2019, will now be subject to a maximum punishment of life in prison.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Kaitlyn (Fain) Salinas of the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
About the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit
In 2019, with the help of Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp and leaders in the Georgia General Assembly, Carr created the first-of-its-kind statewide Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
In 2021, the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit initiated 25 cases, arrested nine individuals, investigated and prosecuted 51 defendants, and rescued and assisted 107 victims. In January 2022, the Unit indicted 15 defendants, including nine individuals charged with solicitation.
During the 2022 legislative session, Carr secured additional resources to expand the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and rescue even more victims.