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Topeka Teen With Violent Pimp Faces More Than 10 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking

Kansas CPS said Anthony Long was to stay far away from then 16-year-old Hope Zeferjohn. He didn't listen. Now she's being treated as his accomplice.

Terry Zeferjohn/FacebookTerry Zeferjohn/FacebookAs a teenage runaway being threatened by a violent older pimp, Hope Zeferjohn should have been saved when Topeka police arrested the man for human trafficking. Instead, she was cast as a conspirator in his schemes and now faces more than a decade in prison.

The situation stems from their 2015 attempt to recruit a 14-year-old girl to live and work with them. Zeferjohn met the younger girl earlier that year at a church youth camp and they became friends. But the girl told Zeferjohn and Anthony "Angel" Long, then 26, that she wasn't interested in their arrangement and then told her parents, who called the police.

The 14-year-old never met Long in person—contact was confined to Facebook chats and text messages. She was never abducted or physically harmed, though Long did threaten her, police say. The girl was never advertised for commercial sex, nor did she ever engage in prostitution. And even Long, who accepted a plea deal in February, was only convicted of attempted aggravated human trafficking, a third-degree felony. Yet somehow Zeferjohn—someone who was unquestionably underage at the time of the alleged offenses and is, by multiple accounts, an abuse and exploitation victim herself—has wound up on the hook for aggravated human trafficking, a felony in the first degree.

'She Tried to Get Away From Him Everytime She Came Home'

"By no means do I condone any wrongs Hopie has done in this mess—she was 17, and has a good head on her shoulders for the most part," Stacey Duckworth, Hope's Godmother, tells me. But "she doesn't deserve the treatment she's getting, and had she had parents that were more involved and financially stable, I don't think she'd be facing the charges she is."

Hope was just 15 when she first met Long, who was nearly 10 years older than her. Long had a reputation around the area as something of a creep and a criminal record to back it up: domestic battery and violating a protective order against his ex-girlfriend in 2013, threatening to assault a child-services worker in 2015. Still, Long was initially a welcome guest around the Zeferjohn's Topeka, Kansas, home. Hope's parents were busy with four younger children and, according to relatives and neighbors, never ones to provide a lot of parental supervision anyway.

"Angel groomed this family for a long time," says Duckworth. "He used to come into the home as a friend of the oldest daughter. There's five girls in this family." In August 2014, when Heather and Hope were both pregnant, the "family suspected Angel was father to both," though DNA testing later ruled it out for Hope's son. That same summer, 18-year-old Heather moved out into her own apartment and the rest of the kids were removed from the Zeferjohn home by the state's Child Protective Services (CPS). Three of the younger children went to live with Duckworth, and Hope was placed with a family in nearby Salina.

Hope's CPS case managers also managed to get a restraining order against Long.

According to Duckworth, Hope "was doing awesome in her foster home. Her baby came, she graduated [high] school, started a job, took college classes. Bought a car."

By mid-2015, most of the Zeferjohn children had been reunited with their parents (earning them a photo with Gov. Sam Brownback in a Department of Children and Families press release). Hope continued "excelling," in foster care, says Duckworth. "Then Angel found her."

Facebook comments on Topeka Capital-Journal article about Anthony LongFacebook comments on Topeka Capital-Journal article about Anthony LongIn violation of the protective order, Long got in contact with Zeferjohn, and relatives say he used more than just sweet talk to persuade Hope back to him. "He beat her, made her miscarry 2 different times," Heather Zeferjohn, 19, wrote last week on Facebook in response to commenters who said Hope deserved harsh criminal treatment. According to Heather, Long told Hope "her son would die if she didn't do what [Long] said" and "held her at gun point when she didn't do what he told her to."

Hope "herself was sex trafficked," Heather wrote.

In another Facebook comment, Heather claims that Long "threatend to blow my house up with all my kids in it he did it all off her fb so none of it would come back to him. But i wasnt dumb she would never talk like that to me. She tried to get away from him everytime she came home someone he knew was always with her she was never alone."

A spokesperson from the Topeka Police Department declined to comment on the case and said full case files were sealed. (I was only able to access docket records) The Shawnee County District Attorney's Office did not return my request for comment.

Victimizing the Victims

As of April 2017, Zeferjohn had been imprisoned in some part of the Shawnee County Jail—first the juvenile detention ward, then grown-up jail after she'd turned 18 the prior August—since December 2015. Zeferjohn was transferred to Shawnee County custody after being picked up by police in New York, where she had run away to with Long, leaving her son in the care of her parents. On Facebook, Hope's father, Terry Zeferjohn, urged friends to call the police if they saw his runaway daughter, cautioning that Long was armed and a "drug dealer" who "will kill anyone [who] gets in his ways."

Duckworth says Hope "ran away to ny to 'work' for [Long], I guess." But how willingly the teenager went along is far from clear. Long repeatedly threatened Hope and her family, according to Duckworth. He "threatened her baby and had beaten her on more then one occasion."

Meanwhile, the "child sex trafficking" of which Zeferjohn is accused is entirely confined to online chatter. This girl was never physically abused by Long (or Zeferjohn), never had sex for money at his behalf, never felt he was someone she couldn't escape. According to police, Long described sexual activity he wanted the girl to engage in with him and offered to "train" her to please other men. He proposed that she come live with him, Zeferjohn, and Zeferjohn's baby as a "family" prostitution operation. And that's as far as things went.

Thankfully, this girl reported Long's antics to her parents before he could actually hurt her or other young women. And the girl had parents who found his behavior troubling enough to alert police—perhaps in part out of fear for not just their own daughter's safety but that of the Hope and her infant son, too. Yet rather than treat Zeferjohn like a second victim, Kansas officials have targeted her as much as Long for criminal prosecution.

In January 2016, Long was charged with 18 felonies, including aggravated human trafficking, and two misdemeanors, for child endangerment and contributing to child misconduct or deprivation. The following June, Zeferjohn was charged with nine felonies, including aggravated human trafficking, conspiracy to commit rape, conspiracy to commit aggravated sodomy, aggravated intimidation, indecent solicitation of a child, electronic solicitation of a child, and several counts of making a criminal threat, plus two misdemeanors. Aggravated human trafficking alone can come with a penalty equivalent to second-degree murder.

Is this justice? In Zeferjohn, we have someone who is very likely the victim of a domestic abuser or an abusive pimp, depending on how you look at it, and unquestionably a "sex trafficking victim" under federal law. It requires someone to be engaging in prostitution that's been forced/coerced or to be engaging in prostitution while under 18, no matter the circumstances, and Zeferjohn meets one if not both criteria. The young woman has already lost custody of her child, and will have to register as a sex offender.

On March 31, she pled guilty to one count of aggravated human trafficking, in exchange for the other charges against her being dropped. Prosecutors recommended that she be sentenced to five years and 11 months in prison, but the judge is free to ignore this recommendation at the July 7 sentencing. Eleven to 13 years is the typical sentencing range.

Long accepted a plea deal in February, copping to one count of attempted aggravated human trafficking, four counts of felony child sexual exploitation (for having nude pictures of unidentified teen girls on his cell phone), and one felony count each of indecent solicitation of a child and electronic solicitation. On April 7, a Shawnee County judge sentenced him to 35 years in prison. Local news channel WIBW described Zeferjohn as Long's 18-year-old "accomplice" in a venture that involved providing "several young girls between the ages of 14 to 16" with "food and shelter in exchange for sexual requests." It failed to mention that Zeferjahn was, at the time, one of these young girls.

Photo Credit: Terry Zeferjohn/Facebook

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  • Bubba Jones||

    Wait a minute.

    Prostitutes have agency except when they don't?

  • marshaul||

    Adults have agency, children and victims of sex trafficking do not, shitweasel.

    The fact that you seem to have difficulty with this doesn't say anything good about your intellectual capacity or moral compass.

  • ForcaShqipnia||

    I find it ironic that white knights who claim children have no agency (thus removing their agency) are seen as good. You are no better than one who ignores another agency based on an arbitrary reason. Your intellectual capacity and moral compass are in question here, not Jones'.

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    "This is a court of law, young lady, not a court of justice."

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Victimizing the Victims"

    Speaking of which, I hope you got permission to use her photo.

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    MONSTER!!!!!!

  • Ken Shultz||

    There's this thing called ethics. Libertarians usually center it around consent.

    The Jerry Springer Show might reject showing this girl's image for being in bad taste--even with her consent.

    Put a subheading in about "victimizing the victims", and expect us to ignore the obvious?

    Not on this blog.

    Like I said, I hope ENB at least obtained the victim's consent. Maybe she did! Maybe this girl wants her story out there so she can pressure the authorities into doing the right thing.

    I certainly hope so. 'cause being a libertarian is all about consensual activity, and even if publishing a victim's picture without her express consent is legal, it's also wrong.

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    I always enjoy a random Ken Shultz morality rant.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Hey, she's the perp. Now it's fair game.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    Her photo has already been put out there by Kansas media and police

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Which was actually my point. Without even checking, I assumed that the Kansas police had released her photo.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, well, obviously if the police do something that makes it okay . . . since, you know, they're the police.

    Is that what I'm supposed to think?

    Have you all lost your minds?

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    Or, for those of us not eager to hop up on our moral high horse, seeing a photo of the young woman in question brings about even more sympathy and outrage toward her upbringing and current situation.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    Exactly. She's 18 now, and Topeka police have already released her mugshot image. Media have exclusively used this mugshot image in their reporting. The photos I used are those her father released publicly when she was missing and had runaway with Long, and I think they humanize her and show her as the young, relatively normal she is or was. I do not use these images thoughtlessly

  • Ken Shultz||

    The fact that her father released it helps. That's at least some semblance of consent--if she were a minor at the time. But you didn't get it from her father--you took it off her Facebook page?

    That the police released a mugshot of either a minor or a crime victim is shameful--if that's what they did. That the police did something doesn't justify anything.

    A mugshot of the perpetrator who abused this girl as a minor might have been a better choice--though not perfect. I guess he didn't have a Facebook page? Or did you not use that because you couldn't get his consent?

    Also, there's this thing called "propriety". You should look it up.

  • marshaul||

    Ken, you are such a disgusting shitheel. Stop fucking posting and go back to your basement.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Angel" Long, is that you?

  • Bubba Jones||

    Um, your argument is that she was a juvenile and should be treated as such. Therefore, her record should be sealed and her picture should not be posted.

    Instead, you are treating her as an adult, much like the court...

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Um, your argument is that she was a juvenile and should be treated as such. Therefore, her record should be sealed and her picture should not be posted.

    Instead, you are treating her as an adult, much like the court..."

    My argument is that she's a crime victim, propriety dictates that her image not be published without her consent, and that it doesn't look like she expressly consented to having her image published in association with this story--and all its lurid details.

    Was this image taken from her Facebook page with her consent?

    Oh, and what I wrote was this:

    "The fact that her father released it helps. That's at least some semblance of consent--if she were a minor at the time. But you didn't get it from her father--you took it off her Facebook page?"

    You need to work on her reading comprehension.

    The problem is that she didn't consent to having her image used. The argument was that if she were still a minor, her father consenting might meet that standard--but she isn't a minor anymore. As of the publishing of her picture, she is not a minor.

    Being a minor isn't the issue. Propriety and ethics should prevent journalists from publishing the pictures of adult crime victims without their consent, too. Does the irony of seeing a subheading of "victimizing the victims" elude you completely?

  • Ken Shultz||

    The question is about consent.

    It isn't about whether they're doing something to her for her own good, you nincompoop.

    It's like you guys are taking every libertarian argument in the piece--and then ignoring them on purpose.

    The authorities are wrongly going after this girl, but doing this without her consent is okay because the police did it?

    They say they're going after trafficking for the good of the victims--but they're actually hurting the victims. Meanwhile, you think it's okay to publish this girl's picture without her consent because it's for her own good?

    I don't remember the last time I saw something so self-contradictory. Congratulations, I guess.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Ken, calm down, Crusty hasn't even said 'would' yet!

  • Bubba Jones||

    No, I think he is exactly right in this case. ENB is being very inconsistent in her treatment of the victim/perp.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Hope Zeferjohn

    Surely the moment her parents named her, they knew she was in for a lifetime in rehab or on the pole.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    middle name is Joy May (really)

  • Ken Shultz||

    Are you proud of this comment, too?

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    I think her full name is great, but it's also unusual and improbable in that wouldn't-write-this-in-fiction kind of way. I'm not denigrating it in any way

  • Ken Shultz||

    If you say so?

    LOL

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    He proposed that she come live with him, Zeferjohn, and Zeferjohn's baby as a "family" prostitution operation.

    Second-worst sitcom idea ever.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'm guessing "Ken Shultz' Half-Hour Morality Rant" is still going strong at #1?

  • JWatts||

    I'm a little confused by this article. It's not clear to me here that Hope Zeferjohn isn't potentially guilty. ENB seems to be saying that HZ was a victim and therefore HZ can't be a victimizer. That's not a valid logical conclusion. The focus of the article should be on what HZ is alleged to have done, and the likelihood that she did so. The basis of the article should not rest on some kind of victims are automatically innocent emotional criteria.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    ENB seems to be saying that HZ was a victim and therefore HZ can't be a victimizer. That's not a valid logical conclusion.

    Or maybe she's saying that if HZ's victimhood consists in her being forced to perform illegal acts or risk a beating, she shouldn't be considered guilty of those illegal acts.

    Are people actually retarded enough that they don't understand this, or do they just hate women?

    Oh, right.

  • JWatts||

    "Are people actually retarded enough that they don't understand this, or do they just hate women?"

    Oh I see, right to an appeal to emotion.

    "Or maybe she's saying that if HZ's victimhood consists in her being forced to perform illegal acts or risk a beating, she shouldn't be considered guilty of those illegal acts."

    It's alleged that HZ was vicitimized by this thug in the past. It's not clear that the past behavior exonerates all future behavior. In our system, that's for the courts to decide. ENB seems to imply and you seem to double down on the idea that because this women was mistreated in the pasts the police should not enforce the law.

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    ENB seems to imply and you seem to double down on the idea that because this women was mistreated in the pasts the police should not enforce the law.

    Is that how you read this paragraph: Is this justice? In Zeferjohn, we have someone who is very likely the victim of a domestic abuser or an abusive pimp, depending on how you look at it, and unquestionably a "sex trafficking victim" under federal law. It requires someone to be engaging in prostitution that's been forced/coerced or to be engaging in prostitution while under 18, no matter the circumstances, and Zeferjohn meets one if not both criteria. The young woman has already lost custody of her child, and will have to register as a sex offender.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    in the past...future behavior

    Oh, so you are just retarded. My bad.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Are people actually retarded enough that they don't understand this, or do they just hate women?

    Well, this IS a libertarian blog, so... /sarc

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    The basis of the article should not rest on some kind of victims are automatically innocent emotional criteria.

    Is that what you read?

  • JWatts||

    "or do they just hate women? Oh, right."

    It's surprising to me how sexist some Libertarian commentors are. I made a logical argument that had nothing to do with the persons sex. In my mind gender didn't factor into the story. I don't see how a rational person would think that it should?

    However, several commentors immediately charge sexism, because the person was a female.

  • marshaul||

    No, you made an illogical comment rife with straw men, and you got ridiculed and had insinuations made about the motivation behind your illogical (and therefore, by deduction, emotionally-motivated) idiocy.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Do your comments offer anything except name calling?:

  • JWatts||

    "No, you made an illogical comment rife with straw men,"

    No, my post wasn't illogical nor was it rife with straw men. It's telling that only one post actually criticized a specific point in my comment. The rest just went straight to ridicule without any indication the readers understood my post. If you actually have a good point, you don't need to start with ridicule.

    The only specific point made was by Hail Rataxes, who said "if HZ's victimhood consists in her being forced to perform illegal acts or risk a beating, ".

    I responded by pointing out that the article doesn't actually state that. It's just conjecture on his part. And the response to that was:

    "Oh, so you are just retarded."

    If you can't actually manage a logical rebuttal to an argument, then maybe you shouldn't be commenting on a site labeled Reason.

    I want to make the point here I don't have any issue with ENB stories in general, they are usually light, but solid in there reporting. However, this story doesn't actually have enough evidence to indicate a miscarriage of justice and it relies on emotional laden language rather than detailed analysis.

  • Mr. Flanders||

    You guys do realize that marshaul is just trolling you, right?

  • Robert||

    But isn't any more? Wondering why you italicized that.

  • JWatts||

    "But isn't any more? Wondering why you italicized that."

    That was a mistake. It should have read:

    "However, several commentors immediately charge sexism, because the person was female."

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    copping to one count of attempted aggravated human trafficking

    What were pimps charged with 30 years ago? Did they call it 'human trafficking' back then?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I think they called it "runnin' hos" but that's no longer considered PC.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    No, it was actually "peddl'n pussy" I believe.

  • Radioactive||

    if you have "human trafficking", can you have human collisions? and/or rollovers?

  • Johnny Apple||

    Legalize prostitution and lower the age of consent.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    *nods vigorously*

  • Hugh Akston||

    The euphemisms are getting less euphemistic all the time.

  • ForcaShqipnia||

    *Insert overly emotional argument about biological humans being children and how women in prostitution are always forced*

    There we go.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Hope's family is clearly a train wreck as well.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It's not often a young girl goes on the game when everything at home running tight.

  • ForcaShqipnia||

    Yup, and it is pathetic people create laws based around these families who are pretty much outliers as well.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I'm really hoping this scumbag, Long, gets raped in prison. Repeatedly and often. Karma's a bitch.

  • Chuck in CR||

    A real dad teaches his family the value of owning a shotgun, a shovel and a woodchipper.

    Alas, education was left to society.

  • Robert||

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Of course nobody wants to discuss legalizing prostitution.

    Prosecutors don't want legalized prostitution because prosecuting whores is one hell of a lot safer and easier than actually doing something useful.

    Cops don't want legalized prostitution, because it might interfere with their happy pastimes of extorting free sex and money from prostitutes, and beating the shit out of and raping any that get uppity.

    Anti-Trafficking Crusaders don't want legal prostitution, because if you start listening to the actual prostitutes you quickly realize that the 'trafficking' these morons actually fight only marginally exists in the first place (outside of Hollywood, that is). Why, these con artists might actually have to start WORKING for a living.

    Feminists don't want legalized prostitution because they quite rightly fear that if a man can exchange something as simple as money for sex (as opposed to trading in his psychological gonads), they might get called on their outrageous misandrist bullshit.

    Girls who get caught in the gears of the 'Justice' Department? They don't count at all, nor do their families.

  • ForcaShqipnia||

    Legalizing will also make it easier to focus on abuse, but as you said, that reduces the pool of "victims" significantly and thus tax money, funding, votes etc.

    The irony is that none of these people care about child prostitutes or underage prostitutes (two very different kinds of prostitutes btw). They care about either money, votes or fulfilling their psychological desire to be a "hero"/"heroine".

    The ones who truly care about any female (or male) involved in prostitution are the advocates of liberty.

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