Wednesday, October 4, 2023

70-year-old man faces 28 counts for prostitution, exploiting a minor

Jesse Lonza Teal

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A Wilmington man has been charged with more than two dozen sex offenses after an initial arrest last month.

Jesse Lonza Teal, 70, has been charged with 28 counts, including advancing prostitution of an adult victim, promoting prostitution of a minor, first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. 

Teal was first arrested Nov. 29 with 12 adult charges and arrested a second time on Monday for 16 charges related to minors.

The charges could carry penalties ranging from class C to a class F felony according to state law. A class C felony is more severe and carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

According to a press release from New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, Teal allegedly advertised himself as a “sugar daddy” seeking vulnerable women on an escort website. The office interviewed several victims who “engaged in commercial sex arranged by Teal for his benefit.”

NHCSO spokesperson Jerry Brewer said the office found out about Teal through an unrelated investigation being conducted by the Coastal Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force. it acquired enough evidence to charge Teal on Nov. 28; an incident report notes six victims.

According to arrest records, he is currently being held in New Hanover County Detention Center on a $200,000 bond. Teal has a prior conviction for violating a protective order in 2008.

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