LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday upheld an Omaha man’s effective life sentence for sex trafficking and sexual assault of a minor.

Anthony Swindle had been sentenced last year to a total of 180 years to life on four felonies. The sentences were enhanced after he was found guilty of being a habitual criminal.

Friday’s court ruling affirmed Swindle’s convictions on two counts of sexual assault of a minor, one of sex trafficking and one of sex trafficking of a minor.

Swindle, now 46, had argued that his sentences were excessive because he had no history of similar crimes and they exceeded those imposed for some cases of homicide.

The Supreme Court rejected those arguments, saying those sentences were not disproportionate given the nature of the crime and that Swindle’s guilt was “largely uncontested.”

“The state proved that Swindle repeatedly sought out vulnerable victims and used violence and manipulation to force them into his sex trafficking business,” the court said.

Swindle had been convicted in the rape and sex trafficking of a 15-year-old girl and the sex trafficking of a 21-year-old woman.

According to the Supreme Court ruling, the girl had been diagnosed with mental illnesses and was assessed as low functioning. The young woman had a long history of physical and sexual abuse and spent time in the child welfare system.

Swindle picked them up when each was walking along Omaha streets at night. He used the same method to pick up another woman who had been working as a prostitute. He soon became her “pimp” and started taking her money and intimidating her.

Although Swindle had not been convicted of similar crimes in the past, the lower court found that he was a gang member and drug dealer with 96 arrests and two previous prison stints.

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Martha Stoddard keeps legislators honest from The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where she covers news from the State Capitol. Follow her on Twitter @StoddardOWH. Phone: 402-473-9583.

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