Topeka woman pleads guilty to conspiracy in interstate sex trafficking case

A Topeka woman pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to operate an interstate sex trafficking business, Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.

Shannon Nelson, 23, Topeka, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. In her plea, she admitted conspiring with co-defendants to operate a Topeka-based prostitution business. At times, as many as 20 females were working as prostitutes for the organization. The leader of the organization rented houses where some of the prostitutes were allowed to live. The organization used Web sites, social media and cell phones to advertise sexual services and to keep track of prostitutes.

Nelson admitted she worked for co-defendant Frank Boswell as a commercial sex worker. She became a trusted member of Boswell’s organization and lived in one of Boswell’s houses. She posted advertisements for herself and other women on a Web site offering sexual services. She used cell phones to communicate with Boswell and others in the course of operating the prostitution business.

Federal agents encountered her July 15, 2015, at a Motel 6 in Omaha where she and other women had gone to engage in prostitution.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 24. She faces a penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.

Co-defendant Frank Boswell, 42, Topeka, Kan., is awaiting trial. Co-defendant Rachel Flenniken, 34, Topeka, Kan., is set for sentencing Oct. 17. Co-defendant Sean P. Hall, 46, Topeka, Kan., is set for sentencing Oct. 3.

Beall commended the Topeka Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney for their work on the case.