ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities on Thursday filed prostitution-related charges against a man jailed in Las Vegas after his wife reported that he killed their then-6-year-old daughter in 2013 and hid the body in a garage of an abandoned house near St. Louis.
Jason Scott Quate is due in court Friday in Las Vegas to answer a criminal complaint charging him with felony sex trafficking and living from the earnings of a prostitute. Quate has not been charged in his daughter’s death.
Quate, 34, was arrested Tuesday, hours after his wife contacted police in Las Vegas from a woman’s shelter and described where authorities could find her daughter’s body in Centreville, Illinois.
A judge is expected to appoint a lawyer to represent him at the court hearing. Quate denied wrongdoing Wednesday during the only jailhouse interview he gave, to a reporter for KSNV-TV in Las Vegas.
Quate is accused of forcing his wife to work as a prostitute in Las Vegas after they moved about two years ago to the Las Vegas area with two other children, who are now in their teens.
The girls were found in an apartment where police said they were never allowed outside, even to attend school. A police lieutenant said the girls lacked socialization skills and showed signs of abuse. Both were taken into protective custody.
A separate child abuse charge against Quate is pending, said Audrie Locke, an aide to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson in Las Vegas.
Jail records showed Thursday that the mother was also jailed in Las Vegas pending a Monday court appearance as a fugitive on an out-of-state warrant. St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly didn’t immediately respond to messages about the warrant.
The Associated Press is withholding the woman’s name to avoid identifying the children and because authorities said she is considered a victim in the sex trafficking and prostitution case. She has not been charged with a crime in Las Vegas.
Any charges related to the girl’s death would be filed in Illinois, where investigators found a child’s remains in the detached garage of a dilapidated, boarded-up home in an impoverished community just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. The coroner in St. Clair County said an autopsy was planned.
Quate told KSNV-TV in Las Vegas that his wife’s involvement in prostitution was her idea, and that he believed that his wife had put the 6-year-old up for adoption.
“Obviously, I’m the victim here,” he said. “She wanted to come out here and be a prostitute. She wanted to do all this. I’ve never harmed her and forced her to do this. I’ve begged her to get a regular job.”
Quate told the TV station he agreed to let a family adopt their youngest daughter “because we were struggling really badly at the time with money and cash and trying to take care of three girls.”