Woman guilty of sex trafficking, prostitution

Jury finds Carpenter guilty on 6 of 8 counts

A 12-person Superior Court jury found a woman accused of running a brothel guilty on six felony counts at Kenai Courthouse Wednesday.

Karen L. Carpenter, 50, was charged with one count of prostitution and seven counts of sex trafficking: inducing a person younger than 20 to engage in prostitution; running a prostitution enterprise; soliciting a patron for prostitution; running a place of prostitution; inducing a person 20 years old or older to engage in prostitution; accepting proceeds derived from prostitution; and facilitating a prostitution enterprise.

A complaint filed by a Kenai Police said Carpenter told an undercover officer her business, Gifted Hands, provided massages and companionship packages. Clients could decide how to spend their purchased companionship time — including engaging in various types of sexual activity.

The jury hung on count one charging Carpenter with inducing a person younger than 20, Madison Murrieta, of engaging in prostitution. Due to lack of evidence of anyone involved in the business being under 20, Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman then acquitted Carpenter of count one.

The only evidence of Murrieta’s age the state presented was an advertisement by Carpenter on a website on which 50-year-old Carpenter said her age was 32.

In an email, District Attorney Scot Leaders said the state moved for Bauman to reconsider the acquittal, and Bauman has given the defendant 10 days to respond to the motion.

The charge of inducing a person younger than 20 years of age to engage in prostitution is an unclassified felony carrying a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $500,000.

The remaining charges are class C felonies. Conviction for each a class C felony can result in up to five years time served and a fine up to $50,000.

The jury split on count five charging Carpenter with inducing a person 20 years old or older, Jonah Lange, to engage in prostitution. Re-trial week for this count is scheduled for Oct. 28.

Sentencing for the guilty counts is set for Nov. 18.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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