PANAMA CITY-- A Panama City Beach man, accused of pimping for teenage prostitutes, appeared in court this afternoon for a bond hearing.
Bay County Judge Tommy Welch ordered 50 year old Joe Worthy Dobbs held on a total of 135 thousand dollars on procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution, deriving proceeds from prostitution, and renting a space for to be used of prostitution.
Panama City Beach Police say Dobbs was allowing men to have sex with underage girls at his rental apartment at Laketown Wharf Condominiums.
Dobbs asked Judge Welch for leniency but Welch denied the request.
Dobbs is currently represented by the public defender's office.
"We operate a legal escort service and of course they see it otherwise," said Joe Dobbs, accused.
Fifty year old Joe Worthy Dobbs says everything that happened in his 18th floor Laketown Wharf rental unit has been legal and above board.
He claims he's a photographer working with young ladies who had troubling pasts.
"We've operated completely in the bounds of the law since we've opened. It's not a prostitution service, it's an escort service," said Dobbs.
But Panama City Beach Police say the young women tell a different story.
"The one lady when she first started the prostitution she was 16 years of age. He took advantage of a young lady. Most of the girls are 18,19. So he's been taking advantage of these young ladies and he brings them in and tells them he's a photographer, he's going to take pictures and get them a modeling jobs. And then he coerces them into the escort services and coerces them into the prostitution and taking a large cut of their services," said Drew Whitman, Panama City Beach Police Chief.
During Tuesday’s raid, investigators say they found two underage girls in Dobbs condo; however, he says that is not the case.
Police say Dobbs allowed the women and their clients to use the front room of the condo to conduct business, while they lived in the back room.
Dobbs says he advertised the escort service in the yellow pages and was working alone.
"We never broke the law, it was not about sexual activities. We were very specific all of our ads, full disclaimers," said Dobbs.
He also says the girls were local.
"One source says he had one of his younger daughters working for him and servicing," said Whitman.
Dobbs believes he did nothing wrong.
"In my mind, and I fully believe, and I think, most of the girls and my family would agree, that I'm not the bad guy. Certainly it helped me, but I also, my main intention was always helping them. I was always concerned for them, cared for them, that kind of thing," said Dobbs.
Dobbs claims his escort operation is just one of many in Bay County.
Panama City Beach Police say more women have come forward since Dobbs' arrest Tuesday.