Man to face trial for sex-crime accusations; judge to consider human-trafficking charge

Tracy Releford

A man facing felony and misdemeanor sex-crime charges will face trial, a judge has ruled.

The man, Tracy Releford, 50, was arrested Aug. 17. He has been charged with felony commercial sexual exploitation of a child and promoting the sale of sexual relations and one misdemeanor charge of buying sexual relations.

Douglas County District Court Judge Peggy Kittel ruled that there was enough evidence to order Releford to stand trial for the charges.

Releford may also be ordered to trial on a fourth charge; however, Kittel said she needed more time to make a decision on a felony charge of aggravated human trafficking.

Prosecutor Mark Simpson and defense attorney Michael Clark disagreed Friday on the law surrounding the charge.

Clark argued that Releford’s case doesn’t fit the conventional model of human trafficking, because he is accused of buying sex from someone who propositioned him.

Simpson countered, saying the subtext of the law fits Releford’s case, especially considering the victim’s age.

According to Releford’s arrest affidavit, he was propositioned on Aug. 15 by a 20-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl outside a Lawrence liquor store.

Later, Releford and a friend met up with the woman and the girl and the four drove to Swope Park in Kansas City, Mo., the affidavit said. There, Releford reportedly had sex with the girl, while his friend had sex with the woman.

Releford paid the woman $25 for having sex with his friend, but refused to pay the girl, arguing that he was not satisfied, the affidavit says.

The two females argued with Releford and eventually the police were called, the affidavit says. Releford was arrested at the scene. He told police he believed both the females were of legal age.

Kittel said because the group left Lawrence, an area the females were familiar with, and drove to an unfamiliar area in Kansas City, the crime was more serious. She will make a ruling on the fourth charge at a later time.

In 1991, Releford was convicted of second-degree murder and armed criminal action, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections. It is unclear when Releford was released from prison, but he was still an inmate in January 2013.

Releford’s criminal trial is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2017.