Women's Correctional Facility Employee Charged With Attempted Pimping

Joshua Hensley was arrested after police received testimony that he was working as a pimp.
Joshua Hensley was arrested after police received testimony that he was working as a pimp. Denver Police Department
On Thursday, July 18, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann charged corrections officer Joshua Hensley with two counts of attempted pimping, as well as one count of patronizing a prostitute and one count of stalking. Attempted pimping and stalking are felonies, while patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor.

A judge set Hensley's bond at $5,000. He'll be back in court at 8 a.m. Friday, July 19, for his first appearance since being formally charged.

Hensley first appeared in court earlier this month following his arrest by Denver police on July 3.

“The Denver Police Department is committed to holding accountable anyone who seeks to profit by exploiting vulnerable members of our community,” Denver Chief of Police Paul Pazen said in a statement after the arrest.  “I commend the courageous witness who initiated this investigation and the tenacity of DPD Human Trafficking Unit investigators who continue striving for justice for victims in this case.”

According to the arrest affidavit, police received testimony from two women (their names were redacted), who said that Hensley, 38, an employee at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility, tried to recruit them as prostitutes and become their pimp. One woman says she knew Hensley when she was a detainee at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility, that he worked on the "med line" (the place where detainees get their medication), and that he looked like an "older Harry Potter."

The Denver Women's Correctional Facility is located at 3600 Havana Street and can house up to 975 female detainees.

"Joshua Hensley has contacted these two female victims along with numerous other females, with the intentions of meeting them for acts of prostitution, and also to coerce them into working for him, with him being their pimp," the arrest affidavit reads.

The woman who described Hensley as an older Harry Potter told police that she began advertising herself as a prostitute online in February. In March, the woman received a message from a man looking for oral sex. When that man arrived at the Best Western hotel in Lakewood where the woman was staying, she immediately recognized him as Hensley. She says she performed oral sex and then he stiffed her on the bill, leaving only $40 instead of the agreed-upon $60.

In the weeks that followed, Hensley and the woman texted; Hensley said he wanted the woman to work for him. He also told her that she needed to post her ads on a website and that she should call him "Daddy." The woman told police that she ended up "getting very irritated and scared of 'Hensley,' and that she told him to leave her alone on multiple occasions."

A search of Hensley's phone records turned up messages to hundreds of women with the "same type of propositions," according to the affidavit.

The other woman who spoke with police had text messages from Hensley that were threatening in nature. "I'm sent [sic] my guys to bring you to me," Hensley texted the woman. He also sent messages saying "If u been fucking black dude I'm going to whip your ass" and "Bitch answer your phone."

“Our department is obviously shocked by the arrest of one of our correctional officers for this type of alleged behavior. What he has been arrested for certainly does not represent what our department stands for or how our honorable correctional staff conduct themselves," said Dean Williams, executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, in a statement after the arrest.

Police believe other women have information about Hensley's alleged criminal activity. "It is possible that Hensley is using his position and his employment to recruit or identify the women that he is targeting for these acts," the affidavit states.

"We strongly encourage anyone to come forward to either our Inspector General’s Office or DPD if they have any additional information on this case," said Williams.

Information is also being taken at Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.

Update:This story was updated on July 18 to include information about the charges filed by the Denver District Attorney's Office on July 18.
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Conor McCormick-Cavanagh is a staff writer at Westword, where he covers a range of beats, including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves to talk New York sports.