A Man who said he was a teen’s ride-share driver is sentenced to Ten years in Prison

A man who brought a 17-year-old girl to a prostitution date at a Lakewood fast-food restaurant has been sentenced to a decade in prison.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Shelly Speir gave 42-year-old Terence Hopwood the midrange term Friday, after a jury convicted him last month of promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor and unlawful gun possession.

According to charging papers:

An undercover detective set up the meeting with the girl on Backpage.com, and Hopwood drove the teen there. The detective and the girl went to a nearby hotel, where she was arrested after she took off her shirt and asked for money.

Police arrested Hopwood as he waited in his SUV nearby, and he initially said he’d been the girl’s Uber driver. But when an investigator asked whether he had the app on his phone, Hopwood said he had given a friend a ride.

 

Investigators found photos from the girl’s Backpage.com profile on Hopwood’s phone, and a message about the date.

He also carried a .40-caliber pistol, which was illegal because of prior felony convictions for taking a vehicle without permission and third-degree assault.

Hopwood’s aunt, Delores Venters, wrote the court ahead of sentencing that Hopwood means well, even though he sometimes lacks judgment.

Before his arrest, he’d helped his ill mother run errands and get to church, she said.

And while he’d been getting disability income — she didn’t specify for what — he wanted a job instead.

“Terence, when given the opportunity, will work and work hard,” Venters wrote.

Hopwood was discouraged when staff members at a job placement facility said they couldn’t help him, she said. The reason was because he’d previously gone to Western State Hospital, the inpatient psychiatric facility in Lakewood, he told her.

“He wanted to make it out here in this world who judges black men and the mentally ill very harshly,” Venters wrote.

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