WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The owner of Asian massage parlors in Wichita has admitted his role in a sex trafficking case unfolding in Kansas.
Gary Kidgell, of Waltham, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to new charges of obstruction and harboring an immigrant living illegally in the United States. Prosecutors agreed in exchange to drop sex trafficking charges against him at sentencing.
Kidgell admitted telling other inmates at a Kansas jail earlier this year that he intended to harm the law enforcement officer involved in his case unless he got the outcome he wanted. He also acknowledged harboring a woman he suspected was in the U.S. illegally.
Kidgell and his wife, Wichita resident Yan Zhang, were accused of recruiting women to come to Wichita to work at massage parlors, then coercing them into prostitution.
Just days before trial, the former owner of Asian massage parlors in Wichita has notified the court he intends to change his plea in a Kansas sex trafficking case.
A court notation Tuesday shows the change of plea hearing for Gary H. Kidgell, of Waltham, Massachusetts, is set for Thursday.
Kidgell and his wife, Wichita resident Yan Zhang, had been scheduled for trial Monday. Court documents also indicate Zhang has been talking to prosecutors and may change her plea.
An indictment charges both with sex trafficking. One count also charges Kidgell with harboring for financial gain an immigrant who was in the country illegally.
The couple is accused of recruiting women from around the country to come to Wichita to work at massage parlors, then coercing them into prostitution.