A Tennesee man who spent two years trying to convince a Morenci teenager to become a prostitute was sentenced to 15 years in prison Jan. 5 in Greenlee County Superior Court.
Iran Dewayne Munn pleaded guilty to attempted child sex trafficking and luring of a minor for sexual exploitation in September.
According to court documents and Greenlee County Attorney Jeremy Ford, Munn sent the girl several messages via Facebook beginning in November 2018 saying he was sexually attracted to young girls, wanted to have sex with her and she could make a lot of money having sex with other men.
Munn told the girl, who was about to turn 15, that he would pay her $100 a week and a $300 bonus if she would spend one night with him and work for him for six months, according to court records. He claimed to have given another girl $6,000 for three months.
He repeatedly told the girl he loved her and it was normally for girls her age to have sex, watch pornography and have secret fantasies.
Court documents indicate every time Munn wrote the girl, she told him he was being inappropriate and she thought more of herself than becoming a prostitute. She said she’d rather die and she was determined to grow up, obtain an education and support herself legitimately.
Although the girl would tell Munn to stop writing her, he continued, Ford said.
In December 2019, Munn sent the girl a message saying he’d like her to play a part in a pornographic film, and he’d be OK if she didn’t want to have sex with him.
Last April, the girl’s guardians learned about Munn’s messages. That same day they further discovered the long-distance truck driver had driven to Morenci in an attempt to see the girl.
Greenlee County Sheriff’s deputies found Munn and arrested him.
Munn agreed to lifetime probation as a sex offender on the exploitation charge, but was facing anywhere from probation to 15 years in prison on the other charge.
Defense attorney Melanie Laboy asked Greenlee County Superior Court Judge Monica Stauffer to place her client on probation, noting sex offender probation is much harder than sitting in prison.
She said Munn has accepted responsibility for his actions and pleaded guilty so the girl would not have to testify in court.
She also told the judge Munn has substance abuse and mental health issues that have gone unaddressed.
“I don’t think any doctor would say he’s a predator,” Laboy said.
Munn apologized for “putting everyone through this” and said he was “really disgusted” with himself.
“I hope everyone can move on from this and life gets better,” Munn said.
Munn’s mother and stepfather spoke on Munn’s behalf as did a family friend. They all described him as a good, respectful, thoughtful, upbeat and selfless man.
The girl’s guardians tearfully addressed the judge and said that to this day the girl feels tremendous guilt about turning Munn in and sometimes believes it was she who did something wrong.
“I had to hold her while she cried her eyes out saying she’s worthless,” one of her guardians said.
Her other guardian read a statement from the girl in which she said she believes five years is a long enough prison sentence, in part because he’ll be labeled as a child sex offender.
She said she just wants Munn to “get better.”
Ford asked for the maximum sentence saying he is worried Munn will continue to approach young girls upon his release. He said he was incredibly proud of the girl for she not only saved herself, but potentially other girls from being sex trafficked.
Stauffer praised the girl’s guardians for the wonderful job they’ve done raising the girl, who she described as articulate, compassionate and “wise beyond her years.”
When pronouncing his sentence, she told Munn she was giving little or no weight to the idea that he had accepted responsibility for his actions, was remorseful, had the support of his family and hadn’t received treatment or counseling services in the past.
She said she suspected his family and friends probably hadn’t heard the facts of the case prior to the hearing.
Following the hearing, Ford released the following statement:
“We are grateful for the diligent efforts of the vigilant guardians of the victim who were able to protect an amazing young lady. We are also extremely grateful for Sergeant Mennen and the other deputies of the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office who acted decisively to apprehend the defendant before he was able to reach the victim.
Rarely do we get to solve a case before physical harm is caused, but this was the exception and the officers involved should all be commended.”