Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Friday, August 14, 2009
KWPD: Pimp beats 15-year-old hooker

A 15-year-old Miami girl working as a prostitute in Key West is off the streets and her pimp is out of jail after allegedly beating her so severely that she was hospitalized for 12 days and had her broken jaw wired shut.

Michael Andrew Clarke, 28, of Miami, who denied knowing the girl, was charged with felony battery in the June 10 incident, and with procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution.

The girl said Clarke punched her in the face, breaking her jaw in three places, after she told him she no longer wanted to work as a prostitute. She required a metal plate in her mouth, reports say.

The girl and her mother, who had reported her missing in May, according to a Monroe County Sheriff's Office report, called police July 30 from a women's shelter.

The girl told detectives she had worked at the Red Garter Saloon, owned by Key West City Commissioner Mark Rossi, and Teasers of Key West about three months ago, and met Clarke through two dancers at Teasers who allegedly worked as prostitutes for him.

However, investigators found the girl never worked at either business, Detective Janeth Calvert said, adding that they also could not verify the existence of the two strippers. The girl apparently had tried to get hired at the Key West clubs, but was refused because she did not have proper identification, Lt. David Black said.

Exotic dancers must be 18 and have identification to work in Florida, according to state law. Teasers and the Red Garter ask for two forms of identification, and the Red Garter does not hire anyone under the age of 21, according to police and management at those businesses.

She may have worked at strip clubs in Miami-Dade County before she and Clarke came to Key West, Black said.

The girl told detectives she prostituted herself four times in Key West with male tourists who stayed in local hotels. She said she gave Clarke the money she made, reports say.

Clarke allegedly told her he would take of care of her and buy her everything she needed as long as she continued to prostitute herself.

On July 31, detectives reportedly used the girl's cell phone to tape conversations between her and Clarke. Police picked him up the same day, and detectives reportedly found on his cell phone pictures of the girl posing.

Clarke, who was born in Jamaica, was released from the Monroe County jail on Aug. 4 on $100,000 bond.

His occupation is listed as telemarketer on the Sheriff's Office Web site, but he told detectives he is a "pimp" and a "playa," according to the police report.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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