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The Blotter

The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

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July 7, 2011 1:43 PM

Owner, employees of Java Juggs espresso busted in sting

Posted by John de Leon

-- From Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge:

The owner of Java Juggs espresso stands has been, well, busted along with several employees after police said some baristas exposed themselves to customers, according to Edmonds police.

Police launched an undercover investigation last fall after receiving several complaints about baristas exposing themselves to customers at a stand Highway 99 and 212th Street Southwest. The investigation ended last week with the arrest of four employees, including the business owner, on charges that include prostitution and unlawful exposure.

Edmonds police posed as customers to obtain videos of several violations during the course of this investigation. Most of the violations involved employees exposing themselves to customers for large tips, police said. Some of the violations involved physical contact between baristas and customers in exchange for money, police said.

Police said the owner of the business, a 49-year-old Snohomish woman who owns three Java Juggs stands in Edmonds and South Everett, was booked into jail last week for investigation of three counts of prostitution and one count of permitting prostitution, police said.

Three additional employees who have not been arrested will be facing charges as well, police said.

Two years ago, police in Everett busted several baristas at the Grab-N-Go espresso stand for similar reasons. One barista eventually pleaded guilty to working without an adult entertainment license and was sentenced to 20 days in jail. Charges against four other baristas will be dropped if they stay out of trouble through May 2012.

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June 10, 2011 5:23 PM

Man found guilty in Seattle undercover pimp sting

Posted by John de Leon

-- From Times staff reporter Sara Jean Green:

A King County Superior Court jury on Friday found Jerry Lewis Smith, 47, guilty of attempting to pimp out an undercover Seattle police officer who he believed was a 17-year-old girl.

Smith was one of 30 men arrested last June as part of a Seattle police investigation called "Operation Fast Track" and was charged with attempted promoting the commercial sex abuse of a minor. He was arrested when he arrived at a gas station with the intent of picking up the girl and taking her to Las Vegas, Nev.

"There's not a 17-year-old actually on the streets in danger. It's not somebody's daughter who can be victimized, but an undercover Seattle police officer," said Sean O'Donnell, the senior King County deputy prosecutor who tried the case against Smith. Using so-called decoy officers is a "tremendous tool" for police to use "without putting a real child in danger," O'Donnell said.

Smith faces a sentence of roughly 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 years in prison.

The jury that convicted Smith began deliberations on Wednesday -- the same day Seattle police were notified that Smith's co-defendant, Anthony Dwain Woods Sr., 51, had been arrested in Ohio, according to Sgt. Ryan Long of the department's Vice and High Risk Victims Unit. Woods, who was arrested on a $250,000 warrant, is expected to be extradited back to Washington.

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April 28, 2011 9:17 AM

Self-proclaimed 'pimp in action' sentenced to 20 years

Posted by John de Leon


SEATTLE TIMES FILE PHOTO

Anthony Terry, left, confers with defense attorney Walter Peale last month in King County Superior Court.

-- From Times staff reporter Sara Jean Green:

A Shoreline man who called himself "pimp in action" was sentenced Thursday morning to 20 years in prison for three prostitution-related charges and witness tampering.

Anthony Terry, 30, was convicted last month of two counts of promoting the commercial sex abuse of a minor, second-degree promoting prostitution and witness tampering. Terry pimped out a 17-year-old girl and an adult woman and then manipulated the teenager through a series of phone calls he made from the King County Jail.

Terry is among the first people in King County to face enhanced penalties for pimping out a minor since new legislation went into effect in June making the crime a Class A felony.

Evidence submitted during his bench trial included a screen shot of Terry's MySpace.com page, which bore the words "pimp in action."

Terry said he is appealing his conviction.

To read a full story on the sentencing, click here.

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April 22, 2010 3:39 PM

Burien men arrested in two-state prostitution probe

Posted by John de Leon

The owners and operators of a string of massage parlors in Washington and California have been arrested by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement officers in an investigation into an alleged prostitution and money-laundering scheme, according to an ICE spokeswoman.

Tham Nguyen, 48, and Suong Tran, 51, both of Burien, were arrested Thursday on charges of conspiracy to transport individuals in furtherance of prostitution and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. A federal grand jury handed down a two-count indictment against the two suspects on Wednesday and federal agents served a series of warrants Thursday.

According to court documents, the defendants owned and operated three massage parlors in Washington, three similar businesses in California and a legal brothel in Nevada. It is alleged the massage parlors in Washington and California were fronts for prostitution, according to the spokeswoman.

Investigators allege the defendants recruited women from out of state to work as prostitutes and arranged for the women to be moved among their businesses. Financial records from the businesses also reveal the defendants conspired to conceal the source and proceeds from the illegal activity, ICE alleges.

According to an ICE news release, the names and locations of the Washington businesses are:

Bamboo Sauna, 14021 Ambaum Blvd. S.W., Burien.
Fantasy Health Spa, 1516 124th Avenue N.E., Kirkland.
Sauna Relax Station, 1537B Auburn Way North, Auburn.

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March 31, 2010 1:43 PM

Renton man charged in teen prostitution case

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

A Renton man accused of ordering a juvenile runaway to work as a prostitute has been charged with commercial sexual abuse of a minor.

Deandre Gant, 21, was arrested last week and has since been charged with the felony. Gant has no prior criminal history, King County prosecutors said.

According to court charging papers: Gant told a 15-year-old Seattle-area girl that she had to perform sex acts so "they" could have some money. The girl told police that she has known Gant for about three years and had moved in with him after running away from home.

Seattle police started investigating the case after the girl's relatives called police to report her missing. Prosecutors said that the girl had been coerced last year into working as a prostitute by two men who have since been sentenced to prison time.

The girl told police that she worked as a prostitute for about a week this month, charging papers said. Police found text messages from Gant on her cell phone, ordering her to keep working, charging papers said.

Gant was arrested on March 23, three days after the girl was found by patrol officers in the 10500 block of Aurora Avenue North.

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March 10, 2010 1:52 PM

Portland man charged with pimping out 15-year-old in Kent

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

A Portland man has been charged in King County with forcing a 15-year-old girl to work as a prostitute in Kent.

Zackery Driver, 20, was charged on Friday with one count of promoting commercial sex abuse of a minor. When police arrested the teen on March 2 she told officers that she and Driver had arrived in the Seattle-area the previous day, according to court charging documents.

The girl told police that she ran away from her family's home in Cottage Grove, Ore., on Jan. 2 after getting into a fight with her father, court papers said. The girl said that she moved to Portland and met Driver. She said that Driver "suggested she work as his prostitute" and offered to protect her and buy her things she needed, so long as she surrendered her earnings to him, charging papers said.

The teen said she had sex about 75 times, earning about $10,000 during her first two months working in Portland, charging documents said. Driver used the earnings to buy silver jewelry for himself and 20-inch rims and a DVD player for his Cadillac, prosecutors said.

Driver not only ordered the teen to walk the streets, he also posted nude photos of the teen and her prices in an online advertisement, charging documents said.

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February 22, 2010 2:54 PM

Massage parlor owner charged with promoting prostitution

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

The owner of an Eastlake massage parlor that advertised spiritual massages -- which Seattle police allege included masturbation and other sex acts -- has been charged with three counts of second-degree promoting prostitution and attempting to promote prostitution.

Vivian Ellis, who is also known as Rainbow Love, 44, of Marysville, was arrested in May 2009 at the conclusion of a nearly 10-month investigation by Seattle police. Police began investigating the Sacred Temple, in the 3100 block of Eastlake Avenue East, after a receptionist for the massage parlor complained that she was fired after refusing her manager's request that she masturbate clients, according to charging documents filed last week in King County Superior Court.

In addition to the Eastlake business, Ellis also ran other "temples" in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood and Kirkland, police said.

A female detective working undercover interviewed for a job at the Greenwood location, charging papers say. Love told the undercover detective that male customers "expected to at least" be masturbated "for their $150 cash fee and that Rainbow Love expected the undercover detective to touch every part of the customer's body in the session," the probable-cause document says.

Love explained the split: $100 for the provider; $40 for the house; and $10 for the "gatekeeper" or receptionist, court papers said.

After her arrest, Love allegedly told detectives "that her work is spiritual in nature and that's what the men are seeking," charging documents said.

Prosecutors said the charges came nine months after the arrest because additional investigation was required. Love is out of jail on bail and is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on March 2.

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February 21, 2010 9:15 AM

Six arrested in Mill Creek prostitution sting

Posted by John de Leon

Six people were arrested Friday during an undercover sting operation that targeted online prostitution, according to Mill Creek police.

Undercover officers posing as "Johns" responded to advertisements posted in the "adult services" category on Craigslist. They arranged to meet prostitutes at an apartment in Snohomish County. Once the women arrived and offered sex for pay they were arrested, police said.

Five women were arrested for investigation of soliciting prostitution and a man was arrested for investigation of promoting prostitution, according to Robin Swanson, public information officer for Mill Creek police. All were booked into the Snohomish County Jail.

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December 11, 2009 12:41 PM

Man who helped run prostitution ring sentenced to nine years in prison

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

Shawn Clark, who authorities say sweet-talked a young girl into working as a prostitute, was sentenced in King County Superior Court today to nine years in prison.

Clark was among six men arrested last year after Seattle police vice officers conducted a sting operation and arrested a 19-year-old woman who had advertised sexual services on Craigslist. Officers soon learned about a prostitution ring that Clark and his brother, DeShawn helped run, and its connection the West Side Street Mobb, a street gang.

In August, Shawn Clark, of Seattle, tearfully pleaded guilty to nine counts, which included charges of promoting prostitution, violation of a domestic-violence protection order, witness tampering and criminal conspiracy.

In court today, Shawn Clark's mother and wife spoke to Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert with the hope that Clark would receive a reduced sentence.

"This is an individual, even after he was arrested, continued to run his prostitution enterprise from the jail," Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sean O'Donnell said.

Four other men have pleaded guilty and been sentenced for their role in the prostitution ring. Last month, a Seattle jury found DeShawn Clark guilty of six charges, including one of two counts of second-degree human trafficking.

DeShawn Clark, 19, took the stand in his own defense during the seven-week trial and denied he was a member of West Side Street Mobb. Clark is the first person in the state to be convicted on state-level human-trafficking charges.

Clark will likely be sentenced next month, O'Donnell. The prosecutors office said he faces up to 20 years in prison.

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December 9, 2009 3:47 PM

Colacurcio racketeering trial set for January 2011

Posted by John de Leon

-- From Times staff reporter Mike Carter:

The federal racketeering case aimed at shutting down the strip-club operation of Frank Colacurcio Sr. has been given a trial date of Jan. 10, 2011, by U.S. District Judge Richard Jones.

The 92-year-old Colacurcio, his son, Frank Jr. and the managers of three area strip clubs are accused in a 15-count indictment handed up by a Seattle grand jury in July, alleging a racketeering operation based on the promotion of prostitution, money laundering and mail fraud.

A longtime friend and associate of Frank Sr., former lounge singer John Gilbert "Gil" Conte, pleaded guilty last month to a single prostitution-related racketeering count in a deal with federal prosecutors that keeps him out of prison and doesn't require him to testify against his boss.

The remaining defendants -- the Colacurcios along with Frank Sr.'s nephew, LeRoy Christiansen, longtime business partner David Ebert and former club manager Steven Fueston remain under indictment on charges that carry possible prison terms of up to 20 years. The government has also moved to forfeit three strip clubs they were involved in: Rick's on Lake City Way; Sugar's in Shoreline, and Honey's in Snohomish County.

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October 12, 2009 4:52 PM

'Pimp god' accused of continuing business from behind bars

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

Some guys just won't learn.

Thomas Foster, 20, who was convicted of promoting prostitution and is awaiting sentencing in the warm confines of the King County Jail, was banned today from using jail telephones after prosecutors say he tried to continue his pimping ways from behind bars. Foster is accused of writing letters to an 18-year-old woman who worked as a prostitute, asking her to contact another woman and tell her to how to post online advertisements for prospective clients.

In one letter, Foster called himself a "pimp god," prosecutors said.

Foster is the second member of the West Side Street Mobb -- a Seattle street gang accused of pimping out girls and young women -- to be caught allegedly trying to keep the prostitution ring going while in jail.

Foster was among six men arrested last year after Seattle police vice officers busted a 19-year-old woman who had advertised sexual services on Craigslist. Officers soon learned about other teenagers and young women being used as prostitutes by members of the Mobb.

In August, Foster pleaded to five counts, including promoting prostitution, assault and conspiracy to promote prostitution. Prosecutors will ask for a five-year prison term when he is sentenced Friday in King County Superior Court.

Co-defendant and fellow West Side Street Mobb member Shawn Clark has also been banned from using the jail phones after prosecutors say he tried to continue pimping out girls to raise his bail. He has pleaded guilty to nine counts, which included charges of promoting prostitution, violation of a domestic-violence protection order, witness tampering and criminal conspiracy.

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October 6, 2009 1:08 PM

Trial begins for alleged gang member charged with human trafficking

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

DeShawn Clark, 19, the remaining member of a West Seattle street gang to be tried for his alleged role in a prostitution ring, will appear in court this afternoon for opening statements in his trial.

Of the six men arrested after a Seattle police sting operation last year, Clark is the only one who has not pleaded guilty. Five of the six men arrested after a 19-year-old prostitute directed police to them belonged to a street gang called the West Side Street Mobb, according to police and prosecutors.

Clark, prosecutors say, committed the most egregious crimes. Clark is the first -- and only -- person to be charged in King County Superior Court with human trafficking, a new law created in 2003.

"A very high standard has to be met. You have to show voluntary servitude or forced labor," said Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. "To show those things in a prostitution case can be difficult because you are reliant on the cooperation of a potential victim who has suffered severe abuse."

In addition to second-degree human trafficking, Clark is charged with first-degree promoting prostitution, two counts of promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree assault, unlawful imprisonment and drug possession.

If convicted, he faces more than 26 years in prison, Goodhew said.

Relatives of two of the men who pleaded guilty deny their relatives' involvement and say the West Side Street Mobb is a neighborhood "clique" and not a gang. Relatives say that their loved ones took plea agreements to avoid potentially harsher penalties had they been found guilty at trial. Among the men to plead guilty is Clark's brother, Shawn.


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August 28, 2009 3:40 PM

Reputed gang member gets the weekend to ponder his future

Posted by John de Leon

-- From Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge:

A King County Superior Court judge on Friday gave a reputed gang member the weekend to consider whether he will enter a plea to charges stemming from his alleged involvement in a gang-run prostitution ring.

DeShawn Clark's attorney asked for the additional time because his client is not familiar with the court system and needs to speak with trusted family members.

Clark,19, is facing numerous charges, including promoting prostitution, assault, unlawful imprisonment, conspiracy, violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and human trafficking. The Legislature in 2003 passed a law that criminalized human trafficking -- recruiting, transporting or harboring a person with the understanding he or she would be forced by fraud or coercion into involuntary servitude.

Clark, who goes by the nickname "Cash Money," had originally been expected to enter pleas to the charges on Thursday, but he told Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert that he needed more time to decide what to do. If Clark decides to face trial on the charges, prosecutors have the option of seeking an an exceptional sentence that could result in a life sentence.

Prosecutors say Clark is a member of the West Side Street Mobb. On Thursday, two gangs members -- including Clark's brother Shawn Clark -- and a gang associate pleaded guilty to a variety of charges related to their habit of coercing and forcing teen girls into turning tricks.

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August 27, 2009 12:11 PM

Gang member admits forcing teen girls into prostitution

Posted by John de Leon

-- From Times staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan:

Shawn Clark, a 21-year-old West Seattle man who authorities said pimped out two teenage girls, then took all of their earnings to support his lifestyle, pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court today.

His plea was followed by guilty pleas from fellow West Side Street Mobb gang member Thomas Foster, 20, to four counts, including promoting prostitution, assault and conspiracy to commit prostitution; and Gerald Jackson, 21, to one count of promoting prostitution.

Clark, Foster and Jackson are the latest members of the West Side Street Mobb to enter guilty pleas after Seattle police, the FBI, the King County Sheriff's Office, as well as county and federal prosecutors, started investigating the gang last year for allegedly running a large juvenile prostitution ring.

A sentencing date has not been set for Clark, but his attorney and Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sean O'Donnell have agreed to ask a judge to give him a high-end sentence of nine years in prison. Defense attorney Brian Todd said that had Clark not taken the plea deal he could have faced prosecution in U.S. District Court, where convictions could have landed him up to 15 years in prison.

The nine counts against Clark include charges for promoting prostitution, violation of a domestic violence protection order, witness tampering and criminal conspiracy. He will serve extra time because the crimes were committed as part of gang activity, said O'Donnell.

In court this morning, Clark admitted that he sweet-talked a girl he had known since junior high school into working as a prostitute. He said that he told the girl he loved her, then made her work almost seven days per week in motels in Seattle and SeaTac, according to plea paperwork.

Since his arrest, Clark had the girl continue working as a prostitute with the goal of earning enough money to help bail him out of jail. Earlier this month, King County Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert raised his bail from $250,000 to $1 million and said that he could only use the jail phones to call his attorney because authorities had recorded conversations of him ordering the girl to go back to work for him.

Clark was among six men arrested last year when Seattle police vice officers conducted a sting operation and arrested a 19-year-old woman who had advertised sexual services on Craigslist. Officers soon learned about other teenagers and young women being used as prostitutes.

Clark's brother, DeShawn "CashMoney" Clark, was also arrested in the sting operation. DeShawn Clark is facing the stiffest charges, which include human trafficking, prosecutors said.

The Clarks' mother, Glenda Thomas, was recently charged with witness tampering after she allegedly called several of the prostitutes and told them not to talk to authorities. She also contacted another West Side Street Mobb member who has pleaded guilty in the case and threatened him, prosecutors said.

On July 17, West Side Street Mobb member Mycah Johnson, 19, pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution and has since been sentenced to 21 months in prison.

On Aug. 3, Desmond Manago, pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution. Manago, who has not been sentenced, is not a West Side Street Mobb member but is friends with the other men charged, authorities said.

Federal prosecutors say that the West Side Street Mobb was formed only three years ago but now has 50 members and associates, and has been tied to two fatal shootings and to bank fraud. A handful of members are currently being prosecuted in U.S. District Court.

Teen prostitution has become a growing problem in Seattle, according to a recent report.

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July 21, 2009 9:45 AM

Gang member sentenced to prison for forcing girls into prostitution

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

A 19-year-old Seattle man was sentenced this morning to 21 months in prison for his role in a West Seattle prostitution ring involving teenage girls.

Mycah Johnson said that he and other members of the West Side Street Mobb, a street gang, sold drugs, committed bank fraud, sold guns and forced young girls into prostitution to bolster their image, according to plea paperwork. Johnson pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court on Friday.

King County prosecutors had sought the 21-month sentence for first-degree promoting prostitution with enhanced penalties because it is a gang-related crime, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. The maximum he could have faced was two years and three months in prison.

As part of the plea agreement, Johnson agreed to testifiy when fellow gang members DeShawn "CashMoney" Clark, Shawn Clark, Thomas "Mario" Foster, Gerald "Kradel" Jackson and Desmond Manago are tried together on Aug. 25, authorities said.

Prosecutors say the charges stem from a November sting operation in which members of the Seattle Police Department vice unit arrested a 19-year-old woman who had advertised sex services on Craigslist. The woman said DeShawn Clark forced her to commit sex acts for money, beat her and took her earnings, charging papers said.

Prosecutors said the woman led police to other women who had been forced into prostitution.

DeShawn Clark, who authorities say was the the ringleader, is charged with human trafficking, promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, promoting prostitution, assault, unlawful imprisonment and drug possession.

Foster is charged with promoting prostitution and assault.

Shawn Clark, Jackson and Manago are charged with promoting prostitution.

Johnson, in plea paperwork, admitted that he forced his teenage girlfriend to work as a prostitute. He told the girl how much to charge, who she could talk to and ordered her to give him all of the money she earned, plea papers said. Johnson said he advertised her services online, rented her motel rooms, bought her condoms and even took her to California last fall so she could work there for him.

Johnson said that during this time he didn't have a job but the prostitution paid for his clothes, video games, car and drugs, plea paperwork said.

"As a gang member, pimping out a girl gave me status with my fellow gang members," Johnson wrote in the plea papers. "Making money is important for respect within West Side Street Mobb."

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June 22, 2009 4:46 PM

Man gets more than he bargained for when he hires hooker

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

A Des Moines man got more than he bargained for when he hired an 18-year-old woman as a prostitute on June 11, according to court charging papers.

The two were in the middle of a sex act at the man's apartment when a group of men showed up, claiming to be police officers. Prosecutors allege that woman tipped off the group of men to their whereabouts.

The men shoved the Des Moines man to the floor and bound his hands and feet, court papers said. The man's face and head were covered in a red cloth.

The intruders told the victim that they would shoot him if he moved, court papers said. The victim was struck in the face several times and felt somebody combing through his pockets -- taking his wallet, his cell phone and his keys. The attackers told the man they would shoot him if he didn't give them his bank card PIN number, according to court papers.

The group of men then carried the victim out of his apartment and into a van, court papers said. The van stopped three times. At the third stop, the man was carried out and taken into a vacant home in Kent, where he was tied to a cabinet in the laundry room. Once the group was gone the man freed himself and went to a nearby house and called for help.

Kent police searched the vacant house and were tipped to the identity of the suspects after finding a school identification card for a youth who had run away from home, court papers said. Police showed up at an known address for the missing youth and found several of the suspects, court papers said.

King County prosecutors say that five males, Damon Zeigler, Javez Tubbs, Japgurjap Singh, Roy Simmons and Domanick Gaskin, and a female, Shinau Ordonia, have been charged as adults for June 11 robbery and kidnapping. One 17-year-old boy has also been charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

Four of the defendants are 17 and the other two are 18.

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June 10, 2009 9:54 AM

Young girl's family sues store over prostitution allegation

Posted by Nick Provenza

The Rosauers grocery chain is being sued by a Spokane family who claim one of the store's security guards falsely accused their 11-year-old daughter of prostituting herself to customers, according to an Associated Press story.

The incident in question occurred at the Spokane Valley Rosauers almost three years ago. The child claims she was making innocent conversation with other customers, but Rosauers officials say the girl was making indecent proposals.

The girl went to the store with her aunt to shop, but was detained by a security guard.

The family is now suing Rosauer's claiming unlawful imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.

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June 3, 2009 2:39 PM

Feds: Fort Lewis soldier pimped juvenile girl

Posted by John de Leon

A soldier based at Fort Lewis was charged today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma with sex trafficking of a child and attempted sex trafficking of a child, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Sgt. Sterling Hospedales, 26, was scheduled to make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court this afternoon. Hospedales has been held in the Pierce County Jail since his arrest on April 14.

According to a U.S. Attorney's Office news release:

The investigation began on April 13, when Lakewood police were alerted to a juvenile runaway from the Seattle area who was posting ads on Craigslist indicating she was engaged in prostitution. Investigators from the Innocence Lost Task Force, a federal task force targeting sex trafficking of children, located and interviewed the girl and a second juvenile.

The first juvenile ultimately admitted that she worked as a prostitute out of an apartment Hospedales had obtained for her, and that Hospedales had helped her post the advertisements for prostitution on Craigslist. She also provided the money she earned from prostituting to Hospedales, according to the news release.

The second juvenile had flown to the area from Wyoming with a plane ticket paid for by Hospedales.The second girl stated that she had only been in town a week, and had taken pictures to post on Craigslist for prostitution purposes, but had not started earning money.

Hospedales was involved in recruiting the Wyoming girl and posting the advertisements on Craigslist, prosecutors allege. Hospedales was arrested as he left the Lakewood apartment he had rented for the juveniles.

The news release did not give the ages of the girls involved.

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May 22, 2009 2:44 PM

Pimp convicted of child rape despite "penis defense"

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

A King County jury that heard the case against Brandon Lemar Brown over the past week apparently didn't buy his defense. He claimed that he couldn't have raped the 15-year-old girl he was pimping out because she couldn't accurately describe his penis in detail.

Brown, 25, testified in Superior Court that he was half-circumcised, that his penis was covered in some type of marks and that it was extremely small, authorities said. However, a police detective disagreed with his description.

To combat Brown's defense, King County Deputy Prosecutor Sean O'Donnell called a Seattle police detective, who photographed Brown's penis, to testify on its appearance. The photos were shown to jurors while they deliberated.

After just a few hours deliberating, jurors on Thursday found Brown guilty of third-degree child rape and promoting commercial abuse of a minor. Brown faces up to 12 years in prison, a sentencing date hasn't been set.

Brown is a convicted sex offender who has served jail time for communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

Brown's conviction comes three weeks after another Seattle man was handed a hefty sentence for raping a 12-year-old girl and coercing her into prostitution. Steven Leonard, 25, was sentenced to 23-years in prison - the longest sentence allowed under state standards.

Commercial sexual abuse of a minor, a felony, has only been used in a handful of cases in King County, said Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff for the prosecutor's office. The charge went into law in July 2007.

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May 19, 2009 6:23 AM

Bainbridge Island brothel closes shop, police say

Posted by Nick Provenza

A brothel recently closed on the south end of Bainbridge Island shortly after police began investigating a local prostitution ring, the Kitsap Sun newspaper says in a story this morning.

Operating out of a rental house until last month, the brothel had three or more resident prostitutes who served clientele from all over Kitsap County, including the island, Bainbridge police confirmed on Monday.

"It had heavy traffic and a lot of activity at all times -- day and night," Lt. Sue Shultz said.

Police learned of the brothel after receiving over a dozen complaints from neighbors. In a few cases, would-be clients accidentally went to the wrong address or were spotted sneaking around in backyards.

"Neighbors were getting odd knocks during the middle of the night, with men asking for (prostitutes) by name," Shultz said.

The February arrest of four prostitutes during a sting operation at a Bainbridge hotel also produced information about the brothel.

No one was arrested in connection with the brothel. Police had been staking out the brothel in preparation for possible arrests when it suddenly ceased operation and the tenants moved away. Police believe the brothel's occupants closed shop after learning of the investigation.

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February 23, 2009 10:24 AM

Sweep targets teen prostitutes in Washington state, nation

Posted by John de Leon

The FBI and numerous law enforcement agencies, including several from Washington state, recently recovered 48 juveniles who had been forced into prostitution. Ten were recovered in Washington state alone, according to the FBI.

The sweep, known as Operation Cross Country III, included enforcement operations in 29 cities across the country, the FBI says in a news release. Also, 571 people were arrested for the domestic trafficking of children for prostitution and solicitation. The Washington police agencies participating in the sweep included Seattle, Lynnwood, Everett, Kent, Tacoma and Lakewood.

We'll post a full story shortly on The Seattle Times Web site.

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February 19, 2009 10:23 PM

Mother, son accused of promoting prostitution

Posted by John de Leon

-- From Times staff reporter Sharon Pian Chan:

A mother and son who ran the Global Healing Center in Seattle promoted prostitution during massages, according to prosecutors.

Dongfang Li, 45, and her son Haoran Pu, 20, were each charged Feb. 11 in King County Superior Court with second-degree promoting prostitution.

The two were arrested after a neighboring business in the 3300 block of Northeast 125th Street reported the center to the police. Investigators found ads on Craigslist from Global Healing Center offering Asian massage.

In August and November, Li offered undercover police detectives a massage for $60 and $30 extra for a masturbation massage. Pu told a detective he was the manager for the center.

Comments | Category: Prostitution , Weird, wacky or interesting |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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