ONLY ON FOX: Suspect accused of teen sex trafficking speaks out from jail. Investigators say Reginal Hardy,39, is accused of kidnapping a 14-year-old runaway girl and forcing her into prostitution. He agreed to talk to FOX 35 from the Orange County Jail where he's in custody.
"Have I made some bad decisions in my life? Yes ma'am, and I'll be the first to admit it, but did I do this? No ma'am," Hardy said. Hardy claims he thought the victim was 18, until Orlando police pulled his car over on International drive during a traffic stop.
"Nobody knew her age, until the officer pulled us over and then they began to run everybody's ID, and she began to act strange," Hardy said. According to the arrest warrant the teen stayed in two Orlando hotels and said Hardy allegedly threatened to kill her and her family if she told police. The report shows the teen also referred to him as "daddy,"
Hardy denies the charges. "This young lady wasn't posted on no Internet, she didn't do nothing with nobody for no money offered, she wasn't … none of that," Hardy said. Private investigator James Copenhaver says Orlando and Tampa are hot spots for sex trafficking. He says the people who engage in the crime target the most vulnerable victims.
"That person or that thug is going to take hold of that child's life and have her turning tricks and having sex for money take all the money and just give her enough to live on," said Copenhaver. According to investigators Hardy allegedly told the victim they would split the money she made from prostituting.
"I'm going to represent myself and let the truth be what it is, it never happened," Hardy said. Hardy said he previously spent 18 years in prison on drug charges.