Hays County jury finds man guilty for sex trafficking 16-year-old girl

Bernell Quillens (Hays County Jail Photo)
Bernell Quillens (Hays County Jail Photo)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – A Hays County jury found a man accused of sex trafficking a 16-year-old girl guilty on three counts of compelling prostitution and three counts of trafficking a person.

It took the jury just over an hour to find Bernell Quillens guilty. Very few people were in the courtroom Wednesday afternoon — a few family members of Quillen and the victim’s mother.

This case dates back to the summer of 2015. Quillens met the victim through a mutual friend. Court documents show he texted her a picture of cash laid out on a hotel bed and asked if she wanted to make some money. The girl eventually met with Quillens who took pictures of her, put them online and started pimping her out in hotels along Interstate 35.

During the trial, lawyers for the victim produced cell phone records and hotel receipts all linked back to Quillens. The trial only lasted two days, but this verdict is something the victim’s mother has been waiting for — for over two years.

“Oh my gosh, it was like this big ton of bricks was lifted off of me. I’m happy mostly for my daughter because now she can feel safe,” said Rhonda Budwit, the victim’s mother.

Budwit says her daughter still has nightmares and has a hard time trusting people. “She feels very guilty and very ashamed. It was hard to believe that something like this could happen to her. It was very hurtful and it was very painful to know she was victimized so badly and hut so badly.”

The jury will still have to sentence Quillens. They will return to court Thursday morning to decide how much time he will have to serve.

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