A Billings man is accused of encouraging his girlfriend to prostitute herself in order to raise money to bail him out of jail.
David Earl Luginbuhl, 32, appeared Tuesday for arraignment in District Court by video from the county jail and pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of promoting prostitution.
Judge Gregory Todd set bond at $10,000 after a prosecutor said Luginbuhl is accused of encouraging his 21-year-old girlfriend to "become and remain a prostitute."
The woman complied, the prosecutor said, by advertising herself on an Internet website and depositing proceeds from her services into Luginbuhl's jail account.
The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
According to court records, the case began on March 29, when a Billings police officer was assigned to conduct a follow-up investigation into a misdemeanor domestic violence case involving Luginbuhl and his girlfriend, Rose Cook.
Cook had reported in early March that Luginbuhl assaulted her, then recanted her statements later that month and said she did not want to proceed with the prosecution.
As part of the investigation, the officer listened to recorded jail calls between Luginbuhl and Cook after he was arrested and ordered held in the county jail on a $500 bond.
In a call made on March 22, Cook said she would "do whatever she had to do to get (Luginbuhl) out of jail," court records state.
Luginbuhl responded: "I don't know how you're going to come up with $500, Rose Cook ... that's a lot of" oral sex, court records state.
The officer found 136 recorded jail calls between Luginbuhl and Cook, court records state, and many of the calls included conversations about Cook prostituting herself to raise money for Luginbuhl's bond.
"In a few calls, (Luginbuhl) stated that he did not want Cook acting as a prostitute, but most of the time (Luginbuhl) encouraged the prostitution," prosecutors state in court records. Luginbuhl "often discussed prices with Cook for various sex acts, repeatedly told her to `get to work,' and even told Cook to record some of the sexual acts."
During a call on April 3, Cook said she was "looking at" posting an Internet ad, "trying to do whatever I gotta do to get my baby home." Luginbuhl responded, according to court records, by telling her not to have sex with minorities and "nobody bigger than me ... if he's bigger than me, just walk away."
Other recorded conversations included discussions of specific encounters Cook had with men and the amount of money she received. The recorded conversations, several excerpts of which are included in the charging documents, continued nearly every day between April 11 and April 21.
The officer also checked jail records for Luginbuhl known as a "Individual Inmate Balance History Report," that showed $100 was put into the account on April 21 and $150 the following day.
"Alright, that's $250," Luginbuhl said in a recorded call.
"Yup, there's $250. So I'm working on it," Cook responded.
The officer also found evidence that Cook had placed an Internet ad on April 15 stating: "I am a 21 yr old looking to have some fun tonite. i can host....white guys only please."
Cook has not been charged as a result of the investigation.