ST. CLOUD -- A St. Cloud man accused of trafficking a woman to help pay for his defense lawyer in a domestic assault case involving her has pleaded guilty and has been sentenced.

Thirty-two-year-old Richard Dunston was charged with sex trafficking and 15 counts of violating a Domestic Abuse No-Contact Order against the victim. Dunston agreed to an Alford plea on an amended charge of receiving profits from prostitution. An Alford plea is where a defendant maintains they're innocent of the crime, but admits the prosecution has enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The DANCO charges were dismissed as part of the plea.

Dunston was sentenced to 10 years in prison on the prostitution charge. He also previously pleaded guilty to felony domestic assault and is serving that sentence concurrent to the prostitution sentence.

Police learned of the victim when undercover investigators responded to an ad for an escort last July. The undercover officer recognized the woman from previous domestic assault encounters.

Court records show information in the woman's cell phone revealed Dunston was trafficking the woman to raise money for his defense on the domestic assault charges. Several of the messages were about the woman having sex for money and how many appointments she had booked and how much money she was making.

Court records show Dunston is appealing to 30-month sentence he is serving on the domestic assault plea.

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