A 49-year-old Millington, Tenn., man was charged in a federal criminal complaint with sex trafficking young girls from at least three West Tennessee high schools, U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton III said.
Many of the female teen victims are between the ages of 15 and 18 and attend Millington Central and Brighton high schools.
According to a sworn affidavit filed with the complaint, Michael Lilley and another individual would provide alcohol and drugs for the girls, who would hang out at an enclosure in his back yard referred to as the "back house."
FBI Memphis Special Agent A. Todd McCall said Monday afternoon one of the victims told authorities that Lilley would bring men to his home for the purpose of engaging in prostitution with the girls. The men paid $60 or $75 per session with the girls, and Lilley gave the girls approximately $30 per customer.
Another victim told authorities that she had sex with men at Lilley's home, at the homes and trailers of men Lilley set her up to meet, and in a van owned by Lilley while parked in parking lots of various restaurants.
The girls were recruited out of various high schools by a minor boy who advised authorities that he had been working for Lilley for six months. He was paid $20 out of every $100 made by the girls.
Officials first became aware of Lilley's actions when one of the girls confided what was going on to the school crisis counselor at one of the high schools. The counselor then reported it to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.
"The activities alleged in the sworn affidavit, if proven to be true, are reprehensible," said U.S. Attorney Stanton. "This office remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to prosecute and bring to justice anyone who exploits children for profit."
Lilley is scheduled for a detention hearing Sept. 12. If convicted he faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of up to life in prison on each charge.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.